Rumor: TSMC already finalizing 10nm 'A11' processor design for Apple's 'iPhone 7s'

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple processor supplier TSMC is starting to tape out the design for an "A11" chip that could go into small-scale production as soon the second quarter of 2017, in preparation for that year's iPhones, a report said on Friday.




The chip design is based on the 10-nanometer FinFET process TSMC is still working on, sources claimed to DigiTimes. Certification for that process is only expected in the fourth quarter of 2016, and product samples would only be delivered to Apple in the following quarter.

The sources suggested that TSMC would likely control two-thirds of total "A11" orders, with the chips going into new iPhones shipping in the second half of 2017.

Although the report didn't specify which company would claim the remaining third, that would presumably be Samsung, which produces a portion of the A9 chips used in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. For many years the Korean company was the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's A-series processors.

Rumors have suggested that TSMC could be the sole producer of "A10" chips for iPhones shipping later this year. If so, it's not clear why Apple would already be planning to revert back to a two-supplier system, though price competition and/or capacity could be some reasons.

Current iPhones use 14- or 16-nanometer chip designs, depending on whether they're built by Samsung or TSMC. Shrinking die size further would allow not just for more compact designs, but better power efficiency. 7-nanometer chips could be a possibility for a 2018 "iPhone 8," although Apple might be forced to use 10-nanometer chips depending on supplier progress.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    TSMC as a sole supplier could be a very risky strategy, given plate tectonics.  The recent Earthquake in Japan has apparently really messed with Sony's ability to produce camera sensors at its Kumamoto factory, with a severe disruption to supply in effect.

    PS - a bit funny AI has made no mention of Tim Cooks forthcoming trip to China to talk to officials about 'stuff'.  http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/6/11606412/apple-china-books-movies-tim-cook-visit


    edited May 2016 schlackgoodbyeranch
  • Reply 2 of 28
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    cnocbui said:
    TSMC as a sole supplier could be a very risky strategy, given plate tectonics.  The recent Earthquake in Japan has apparently really messed with Sony's ability to produce camera sensors at its Kumamoto factory, with a severe disruption to supply in effect.

    PS - a bit funny AI has made no mention of Tim Cooks forthcoming trip to China to talk to officials about 'stuff'.  http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/6/11606412/apple-china-books-movies-tim-cook-visit


    They could have Sammy making %1 of chips and in an emergency give them more chip production.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    cali said:
    cnocbui said:
    TSMC as a sole supplier could be a very risky strategy, given plate tectonics.  The recent Earthquake in Japan has apparently really messed with Sony's ability to produce camera sensors at its Kumamoto factory, with a severe disruption to supply in effect.

    PS - a bit funny AI has made no mention of Tim Cooks forthcoming trip to China to talk to officials about 'stuff'.  http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/6/11606412/apple-china-books-movies-tim-cook-visit


    They could have Sammy making %1 of chips and in an emergency give them more chip production.
    Samsung would say go away, as would any large fab.
    schlackbaconstang
  • Reply 4 of 28
    lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,158member
    It's going to be one powerful chip/gpu combo?

    The A9x is already handle 4k content in the iPad Pro+!

    Wonder if it will go into any Macs...

    Lemon Bon Bon.
    schlackgoodbyeranchpscooter63propod
  • Reply 5 of 28
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 3,750member
    cnocbui said:
    cali said:
    They could have Sammy making %1 of chips and in an emergency give them more chip production.
    Samsung would say go away, as would any large fab.

    Thats what you and all the other trolls keep HOPING AND PRAYING for, but it still hasn't happened. Starting way back when Apple sued Samsung and people (idiots) were wondering how come Samsung doesn't cut off parts to Apple.

    They would happily take the billions in revenue as they are businesspeople, not children. 
    brucemcanton zuykovai46nolamacguyjbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 28
    schlackschlack Posts: 673member
    how long bf they swap out the intel chip in the macbook to an arm processor? dropping in two A10X chips would make it a powerhouse and likely be cheaper than the single intel chip. arm compatible apps wouldn't necessarily be a problem. apple could help recompile existing apps to work on arm chips. even just converting MSFT Office, Safari, and iTunes will cover 90% of what people do with MacBooks anyways.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    cnocbui said:
    Samsung would say go away, as would any large fab.

    Thats what you and all the other trolls keep HOPING AND PRAYING for, but it still hasn't happened. Starting way back when Apple sued Samsung and people (idiots) were wondering how come Samsung doesn't cut off parts to Apple.

    They would happily take the billions in revenue as they are businesspeople, not children. 
    1%  was the suggested quantity.  Samsung  would not bother to manufacture such a small quantity of such a complex chip, and neither would any other fab.  Apple aren't so childish they would ask them to, so the situation would never arise.

    I am not hoping or praying any such thing.  However, you and all the other DED invective infected, ceaselessly bleat about your childish wish Apple would cease doing any business with Samsung and yet Apple themselves continue to do so, year after year, because they aren't so stupid and are actually the businesspeople you mentioned.
    singularitybaconstanggatorguy
  • Reply 8 of 28
    schlack said:
    how long bf they swap out the intel chip in the macbook to an arm processor? dropping in two A10X chips would make it a powerhouse and likely be cheaper than the single intel chip. arm compatible apps wouldn't necessarily be a problem. apple could help recompile existing apps to work on arm chips. even just converting MSFT Office, Safari, and iTunes will cover 90% of what people do with MacBooks anyways.
    You'd lose the ability to emulate Windows at a decent speed, which was a major factor in helping Windows switchers since 2006. Even though most switchers stop emulating Windows after a few months, knowing it's there if they need it helps a lot. There are also a fair number of die hard Windows users that use their Macs as a Windows machine, and that, too would go away. Even if Microsoft was magnanimous enough to compile Windows to the A chips ala RT, most Windows Apps are still x86 binaries. That all said, binary translation is possible (like Rosetta stone), and it would be interesting if Apple had their own CPUs. Then we wouldn't have a decade of SkyLake let downs and wouldn't be stuck with HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. And I still feel Apple switching away from x86 is more a question of when than if.
    goodbyeranchbdkennedy1002palominepropod
  • Reply 9 of 28
    liquidmarkliquidmark Posts: 112member
    schlack said:
    how long bf they swap out the intel chip in the macbook to an arm processor? dropping in two A10X chips would make it a powerhouse and likely be cheaper than the single intel chip. arm compatible apps wouldn't necessarily be a problem. apple could help recompile existing apps to work on arm chips. even just converting MSFT Office, Safari, and iTunes will cover 90% of what people do with MacBooks anyways.
    You'd lose the ability to emulate Windows at a decent speed, which was a major factor in helping Windows switchers since 2006. Even though most switchers stop emulating Windows after a few months, knowing it's there if they need it helps a lot. There are also a fair number of die hard Windows users that use their Macs as a Windows machine, and that, too would go away. Even if Microsoft was magnanimous enough to compile Windows to the A chips ala RT, most Windows Apps are still x86 binaries. That all said, binary translation is possible (like Rosetta stone), and it would be interesting if Apple had their own CPUs. Then we wouldn't have a decade of SkyLake let downs and wouldn't be stuck with HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. And I still feel Apple switching away from x86 is more a question of when than if.
    Running Windows is not emulating it. Even compatibility layers like crossover aren't emulating Windows. Apple switching architectures *again* would be incredibly painful. That would make 4 major architecture changes over the lifespan of the Mac Line. Not good.
    jbdragonbaconstangigroucho
  • Reply 10 of 28
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,758member
    schlack said:
    how long bf they swap out the intel chip in the macbook to an arm processor? dropping in two A10X chips would make it a powerhouse and likely be cheaper than the single intel chip. arm compatible apps wouldn't necessarily be a problem. apple could help recompile existing apps to work on arm chips. even just converting MSFT Office, Safari, and iTunes will cover 90% of what people do with MacBooks anyways.
    You'd lose the ability to emulate Windows at a decent speed, which was a major factor in helping Windows switchers since 2006. Even though most switchers stop emulating Windows after a few months, knowing it's there if they need it helps a lot. There are also a fair number of die hard Windows users that use their Macs as a Windows machine, and that, too would go away. Even if Microsoft was magnanimous enough to compile Windows to the A chips ala RT, most Windows Apps are still x86 binaries. That all said, binary translation is possible (like Rosetta stone), and it would be interesting if Apple had their own CPUs. Then we wouldn't have a decade of SkyLake let downs and wouldn't be stuck with HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. And I still feel Apple switching away from x86 is more a question of when than if.
    Who the hell cares? Apple certainly knows most people with MacBooks are not emulating windows, and if they do it it would be for legacy apps that certainly can work even in a slower emulation (because those sw are not extremely resource hungry or so old that even a slow emulation is basically the speed they had on fast hardware when they came out).

    As for switchers, if Apple makes it possible to run adapted IOS Apps on OSX, then Windows will have what advantage on OSX?

    Windows App development has slowed down A LOT in last few years; it's pretty stale really.

    The world of now is not the world of 2006; there are 3.5B+ mobile devices out there, 1B of those being Apples!

    Apple's not replacing all its range soon anyway. But, they're likely going to introduce a OSX Mac within 1-2 years.


    tmay
  • Reply 11 of 28
    lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,158member
    sog35 said:
    schlack said:
    how long bf they swap out the intel chip in the macbook to an arm processor? dropping in two A10X chips would make it a powerhouse and likely be cheaper than the single intel chip. arm compatible apps wouldn't necessarily be a problem. apple could help recompile existing apps to work on arm chips. even just converting MSFT Office, Safari, and iTunes will cover 90% of what people do with MacBooks anyways.
    I agree 100%

    I want to see a desktop iOS computer to address the $400-$500 market. I know so many people want to switch to an Apple desktop. But to get a decent Mac with SSD is $750. That's just too much for many.

    iOS Desktop
    A10X
    4GB RAM
    128 GB flash
    $399

    Some say no way Apple sells it for that cheap. But the AppleTV with similiar hardware sells for $149.  Add new chips, more RAM, more flash should easily cover the extra $250.

    Yup.

    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,158member

    foggyhill said:
    You'd lose the ability to emulate Windows at a decent speed, which was a major factor in helping Windows switchers since 2006. Even though most switchers stop emulating Windows after a few months, knowing it's there if they need it helps a lot. There are also a fair number of die hard Windows users that use their Macs as a Windows machine, and that, too would go away. Even if Microsoft was magnanimous enough to compile Windows to the A chips ala RT, most Windows Apps are still x86 binaries. That all said, binary translation is possible (like Rosetta stone), and it would be interesting if Apple had their own CPUs. Then we wouldn't have a decade of SkyLake let downs and wouldn't be stuck with HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. And I still feel Apple switching away from x86 is more a question of when than if.
    Who the hell cares? Apple certainly knows most people with MacBooks are not emulating windows, and if they do it it would be for legacy apps that certainly can work even in a slower emulation (because those sw are not extremely resource hungry or so old that even a slow emulation is basically the speed they had on fast hardware when they came out).

    As for switchers, if Apple makes it possible to run adapted IOS Apps on OSX, then Windows will have what advantage on OSX?

    Windows App development has slowed down A LOT in last few years; it's pretty stale really.

    The world of now is not the world of 2006; there are 3.5B+ mobile devices out there, 1B of those being Apples!

    Apple's not replacing all its range soon anyway. But, they're likely going to introduce a OSX Mac within 1-2 years.


    Absolutely.  Order of magnitude.  The world computing landscape has changed.  And in Apple's favour.

    We're already seeing keyboards on 'iOS' computers.  iPad Pro laptop?  And on the regular iPad Pro too.  Apple will be selling tens of millions of iPads.  Now with keyboard.  Many with a 'pencil.'  

    iPad apps.  How many of them?  They dwarf the Mac and rival Windows now.  

    I wonder what the computing landscape will look like with iOS11 and an A11 chip?

    Pretty powerful.  Apple are already casting a shadow over the chips in the Macbook.  The glacial rate of 'Skylake' and predecessors are staring down the barrel of A chips that are closing the gap alarmingly!

    Lemon Bon Bon.
    tmay
  • Reply 13 of 28
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 814member
    foggyhill said:
    You'd lose the ability to emulate Windows at a decent speed, which was a major factor in helping Windows switchers since 2006. Even though most switchers stop emulating Windows after a few months, knowing it's there if they need it helps a lot. There are also a fair number of die hard Windows users that use their Macs as a Windows machine, and that, too would go away. Even if Microsoft was magnanimous enough to compile Windows to the A chips ala RT, most Windows Apps are still x86 binaries. That all said, binary translation is possible (like Rosetta stone), and it would be interesting if Apple had their own CPUs. Then we wouldn't have a decade of SkyLake let downs and wouldn't be stuck with HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. And I still feel Apple switching away from x86 is more a question of when than if.
    Who the hell cares? Apple certainly knows most people with MacBooks are not emulating windows, and if they do it it would be for legacy apps that certainly can work even in a slower emulation (because those sw are not extremely resource hungry or so old that even a slow emulation is basically the speed they had on fast hardware when they came out).

    As for switchers, if Apple makes it possible to run adapted IOS Apps on OSX, then Windows will have what advantage on OSX?

    Windows App development has slowed down A LOT in last few years; it's pretty stale really.

    The world of now is not the world of 2006; there are 3.5B+ mobile devices out there, 1B of those being Apples!

    Apple's not replacing all its range soon anyway. But, they're likely going to introduce a OSX Mac within 1-2 years.


    I agree for the most part that we will see an Mac OS X version running on ARM (outside of the one running in their labs).  

    It will be done differently going forward, different than Rosetta....  We already have seen the first baby steps, and I expect we might see another step at WWDC.

    What were the first steps. 

    - Introduction of Clang compiler using LLVM as an intermediary.... LLVM takes the sudo assembly language code and generates either ARM based (iOS) binary or Intel based (OS X) binaries from it.  Basically the intermediate form is what is I think known as "bitcode".  

    - Last year the change to upload application binaries along with bitcode which would allow future optimizations to be generated into binaries with performance improvements.  What this really means is that the app store could be changed to generate application binaries for both ARM and Intel based Macs.

    I expect a few more moves this WWDC, hopefully a way of packaging applications in bitcode that are generated into binaries during installation -- which would allow applications not sold through the app store to also be transportable.  

    Once all that is in place - it would allow Apple to introduce different processor architected Macs (Intel, ARM) -- while mostly hiding the difference from the customer....  They would be able to buy a Macbook with an ARM processor, and download and install the apps that they used on the Intel versioned Macs without really having to understand the difference between the two. 

    The only thing that would be limited would be VMWare Fusion and Parallels would not be able to function in the same manner and may not be available (unless of course they built a processor emulator layer running at maybe 40% to 50% the native speed).  I actually do use VMWare Fusion - for Linux / Oracle Database... but most people don't really need that ability and most don't install Windows.

    This would allow their laptops (starting with a Macbook) to run on Ax processors, while still having much more powerful Intel Macs in the same lineup with a minimum of confusion.
    loquiturpalomine
  • Reply 14 of 28
    lemon bon bon.lemon bon bon. Posts: 2,158member
    Didn't CISC or x86 legacy compatibility become an on chip resource on...basically, RISC chips from Intel?

    Though whether it matters for Apple to try something similar for a 10nm process?

    With 1 billion 'Mac' devices out there (I count iPhone and iPads as basically 'Macs'.  They are.  It's not a phone in your pocket.  It's a Mac for the rest of us...)  Apple have an ecosphere that now eclipses Windows and is going to run it over going forwards.

    selling 4-5 million Macs per quarter.  Ten million iPads.  50 million plus iPhones.  65 million 'macs' per quarter.  That's some steamroller.

    They're all 'X' at heart.

    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 814member
    Trying a CISC on a RISC chip would have limited usage (without an x86 license) and drastically increase the cost of producing Ax processors.  Apple current keeps their chips fairly small (size on the wafer) because the cost of producing chips goes up geometrically the larger the size it occupies (the volume of defective chips per good chip skyrockets - especially in the bleeding edge of miniaturization).   
  • Reply 16 of 28
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,171member
    You'd lose the ability to emulate Windows at a decent speed, which was a major factor in helping Windows switchers since 2006. Even though most switchers stop emulating Windows after a few months, knowing it's there if they need it helps a lot. There are also a fair number of die hard Windows users that use their Macs as a Windows machine, and that, too would go away. Even if Microsoft was magnanimous enough to compile Windows to the A chips ala RT, most Windows Apps are still x86 binaries. That all said, binary translation is possible (like Rosetta stone), and it would be interesting if Apple had their own CPUs. Then we wouldn't have a decade of SkyLake let downs and wouldn't be stuck with HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. And I still feel Apple switching away from x86 is more a question of when than if.
    Running Windows is not emulating it. Even compatibility layers like crossover aren't emulating Windows. Apple switching architectures *again* would be incredibly painful. That would make 4 major architecture changes over the lifespan of the Mac Line. Not good.
    The Mac line is 32 years old and OS X will be the last desktop version.

    Apple isn't going to stop selling x86 as long as there is demand for Windows. At the same time, Windows is dying by a thousand paper cuts to mobile; the future for Apple is iOS, et al, not OS X.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 17 of 28
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 814member
    tmay said:
    Running Windows is not emulating it. Even compatibility layers like crossover aren't emulating Windows. Apple switching architectures *again* would be incredibly painful. That would make 4 major architecture changes over the lifespan of the Mac Line. Not good.
    The Mac line is 32 years old and OS X will be the last desktop version.

    Apple isn't going to stop selling x86 as long as there is demand for Windows. At the same time, Windows is dying by a thousand paper cuts to mobile; the future for Apple is iOS, et al, not OS X.
    The Mac line is 32 years old, but they are not the same line.... the only similarity is the name and that it is a desktop operating system.  OS X (formerly NeXT + new UI) is roughly 15 years old, and iOS is basically the same operating system with a skinny UI for single screen touch devices.    Apple's whole strategy is not one device does everything but that they will eventually work seamlessly together as if they are extensions of one another but can be used also in isolation (Microsoft's strategy is one device will do everything).   Eventually, I believe Apple's strategy is the right one....  The CPU that runs it is not gold or diamond it is just an electrical component which is quickly dropping in price/performance..... eventually OLED type screens will also be rather cheap, you might even have walls and tables, counters etc that are active displays where as you move around the house the video chat is moving with you as you are on a conversation.  Another active display maybe walking you through what you want to cook tonight interactive, while you ask what the weather is going to be tonight ....  This IoT world (while a fair distance in the future) will effectively be handing off what you are doing.  Touch is but one type of interaction, voice another and yes the old fashion desktop will still have it's place.
    baconstang
  • Reply 18 of 28
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,715member
    I have nothing against putting ARM in Macs as long as the Mac Pro remains as powerful or is more powerful and runs Adobe CC at the same level of performance.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 3,750member
    cnocbui said:

    Thats what you and all the other trolls keep HOPING AND PRAYING for, but it still hasn't happened. Starting way back when Apple sued Samsung and people (idiots) were wondering how come Samsung doesn't cut off parts to Apple.

    They would happily take the billions in revenue as they are businesspeople, not children. 
    1%  was the suggested quantity.  Samsung  would not bother to manufacture such a small quantity of such a complex chip, and neither would any other fab.  Apple aren't so childish they would ask them to, so the situation would never arise.

    I am not hoping or praying any such thing.  However, you and all the other DED invective infected, ceaselessly bleat about your childish wish Apple would cease doing any business with Samsung and yet Apple themselves continue to do so, year after year, because they aren't so stupid and are actually the businesspeople you mentioned.

    Please find a single comment by me where I ever stated Apple should drop Samsung. You won't because I've always maintained the position that Apple should purchase from whoever can supply the necessary parts in the quantities they need (including Samsung).

    BTW, Samsung and TSMC would both produce small quantities for someone like Apple. What do you think "sampling" is? Here's a hint: It's when a fab produces smaller batches of a component so a company (Apple, Nvidia, AMD) can try them out and see if they meet their requirements. Here's another hint: the fab has to perform the same amount of work (taping out, getting lines ready) to produce samples as they would to produce in quantity. There's no shortcut to making samples.

    And Apple WOULD ask them to do so, and it's not childish. It's called competition. Samsung and TSMC could both be asked to produce samples for Apple, and they would both know that whoever produced the better chips would get the orders (perhaps the entire order or maybe just a larger percentage of the order).
    edited May 2016 nolamacguypalomine
  • Reply 20 of 28
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,568member
    We all know 2017 is a year of 10nm fab roll out. Intel announced long time back and Samsung/Global foundry will announce soon. Real shocking news, excitement would have been this year's A10 processor on 10nm. And 7nm in 2019, earliest. News in-between just noise.
    edited May 2016
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