Apple's 2018 iPhone could use TSMC-made 7nm processors - report

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple chip supplier TSMC could make use of its new 7-nanometer manufacturing technique for the processors in 2018 iPhones, a new Chinese-language report suggests.




After trial efforts are completed, TSMC should be ready to begin 7-nanometer manufacturing in earnest sometime between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018, MyDrivers claimed, citing supply chain sources. That would give Apple enough time to implement the technology into 2018 iPhones, and indeed TSMC will allegedly be Apple's exclusive supplier of 7-nanometer chips.

The report suggested that Apple could make use of the process for the "A11" chip in 2017 iPhones, but that would be unlikely. For years Apple has preferred to ship new iPhones in September -- the end of Q3 -- and the company would need full-scale manufacturing to meet global demand.

Instead the "A11" will likely make use of TSMC's 10-nanometer process, which should enter use in the first quarter of 2017. The A10 chip in the iPhone 7 is a 16-nanometer component.

Shrinking die size should allow Apple to cram faster processor technology into a smaller space, while simultaneously making iPhones more power-efficient, or at least keeping consumption under control.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,808member
    Here comes TSMC sponsored media flash to hang on to Apple business. Samsung is said to manufacturer 10nm for QC snapdragon 835 so obviously Apple's A11 would be on TSMC 10nm and next 7nm acceptable yield will be atleast 2 years into 2019 iPhone. Any news about 7nm iPhone in 2018 is just marketing ploy and jibber-jabber. TSMC history is not good from announce to implement. Who will spend billions in 10nm fab and in one year go to 7nm before recouping investment in 10nm..
    edited November 2016 SpamSandwich1stbaconstang
  • Reply 2 of 15
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    This seems way too optimistic. First, let's see them get 10nm out the door. And then they have to pay off those horrendous costs, which measure in the billions. I don't see how they can do this in one year. I would expect to see 7nm in 2019, assuming everything goes well, which is not guaranteed.
    SpamSandwichcoolfactorbaconstang
  • Reply 3 of 15
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
     As long as Samsung is out I'm happy  :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,328member
    Who makes these concept mockups? Ugh. Seriously have you never heard of "kerning".  Also, "press any key to unlock"?  What keys? It's a touchscreen, morons.
    coolfactorcharlesgrestycho24
  • Reply 5 of 15
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member
    I'm curious what process will be used for the A10X. It seems that it might be feasible to use 10 nm, given the alleged timing of an iPad refresh. 
  • Reply 6 of 15
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    jkichline said:
    Who makes these concept mockups? Ugh. Seriously have you never heard of "kerning".  Also, "press any key to unlock"?  What keys? It's a touchscreen, morons.
    I may be missing something, but what has keening got to do with a concept mockup?
  • Reply 7 of 15
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    "Kerning"
  • Reply 8 of 15
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    I suspect that TSMC 10nm will be used for the A10X in the Spring iPad refreshes. I cannot speculate what will be within, as Apple usually surprises. It's an ideal time to switch - iPads sell an order of magnitude less than iPhones, and if there are issues the A10 can be used for low-end iPads.

    It'll be a major leap forward compared to 16nm processes, and it'll enable far more powerful configurations, either via higher clocks (likely on the CPUs) or adding extra silicon (likely on the GPU). IMO we'll see the top-end iPad outperforming the low-power Intel SoCs in the MacBook, etc. But the time isn't right for ARM MacBooks, but maybe we'll see iPads become more functional in desktop OS functionalities.


  • Reply 9 of 15
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,808member
    blastdoor said:
    I'm curious what process will be used for the A10X. It seems that it might be feasible to use 10 nm, given the alleged timing of an iPad refresh. 
    Possible but Apple might want to keep that 10nm super-duper A11 for iPhone updates.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    I hope this headline doesn't spook Samsung into early-launching its own 7nm process chips, or limiting its investment in 10nm just as it is getting off the ground. Their engineers are still busy figuring out batteries.

    I have read elsewhere that TSMC has been developing 7nm and 5nm, while it works on the final stages of 10nm for the 2017 iPhone. However, this is the first I have read about iPhone making the jump to 7nm by 2018. Prior news stories have implied that 7nm will only be available in limited quantities from TSMC before late 2018, and sticking with 10nm for a couple of years fits better with tradition. However, with enough resources (i.e., AppleCash), things can obviously be speeded up. Yet, it seems that Apple would spend those incremental dollars for a 2018 move to 7nm only if it had a specific plan that 7nm would be key to executing.

    The article refers to the "2018" iPhone because of the confusion surrounding the name of the 10th anniversary iPhone. By tradition, the 2017 iPhone should be a 7s and 2018 should iPhone 8. So perhaps we will be surprised by a 10th edition model in 2018 (instead of 2017), with a 7nm application processor and a suite of apps featuring AR and VR.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    jkichline said:
    Who makes these concept mockups? Ugh. Seriously have you never heard of "kerning".  Also, "press any key to unlock"?  What keys? It's a touchscreen, morons.
    I agree. AppleInsider should not be proliferating this nonsense on their articles.

    frac said:
    jkichline said:
    Who makes these concept mockups? Ugh. Seriously have you never heard of "kerning".  Also, "press any key to unlock"?  What keys? It's a touchscreen, morons.
    I may be missing something, but what has keening got to do with a concept mockup?

    It's "kerning", and it's the spacing between characters, to make it more readable. Look at the time, "1:43", and you'll see the huge space after the "1"... not Apple-like at all.
    edited November 2016 jkichlinebestkeptsecret
  • Reply 12 of 15
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    I hope this headline doesn't spook Samsung into early-launching its own 7nm process chips, or limiting its investment in 10nm just as it is getting off the ground. Their engineers are still busy figuring out batteries.

    I have read elsewhere that TSMC has been developing 7nm and 5nm, while it works on the final stages of 10nm for the 2017 iPhone. However, this is the first I have read about iPhone making the jump to 7nm by 2018. Prior news stories have implied that 7nm will only be available in limited quantities from TSMC before late 2018, and sticking with 10nm for a couple of years fits better with tradition. However, with enough resources (i.e., AppleCash), things can obviously be speeded up. Yet, it seems that Apple would spend those incremental dollars for a 2018 move to 7nm only if it had a specific plan that 7nm would be key to executing.

    The article refers to the "2018" iPhone because of the confusion surrounding the name of the 10th anniversary iPhone. By tradition, the 2017 iPhone should be a 7s and 2018 should iPhone 8. So perhaps we will be surprised by a 10th edition model in 2018 (instead of 2017), with a 7nm application processor and a suite of apps featuring AR and VR.
    Don't get too worried. 7nm is still a couple of years out. We first have to see real production 10nm, which we haven't. 5nm is still just a dream, no matter what manufacturers say now.
    baconstang
  • Reply 13 of 15
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,328member
    frac said:
    jkichline said:
    Who makes these concept mockups? Ugh. Seriously have you never heard of "kerning".  Also, "press any key to unlock"?  What keys? It's a touchscreen, morons.
    I may be missing something, but what has keening got to do with a concept mockup?
    The typography of the clock is terrible and not what a qualified designer, let alone Apple would do. The spacing between "1" and the colon is way too wide as is the alignment of the clock face on the screen. It's just a terrible composition especially if you are proporting it to be a preview of a future Apple product.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    jkichline said:
    frac said:
    jkichline said:
    Who makes these concept mockups? Ugh. Seriously have you never heard of "kerning".  Also, "press any key to unlock"?  What keys? It's a touchscreen, morons.
    I may be missing something, but what has keening got to do with a concept mockup?
    The typography of the clock is terrible and not what a qualified designer, let alone Apple would do. The spacing between "1" and the colon is way too wide as is the alignment of the clock face on the screen. It's just a terrible composition especially if you are proporting it to be a preview of a future Apple product.
    Is this an actual serious argument over someone's artwork? Nobody here really thinks this is an Apple photo, do they? What's the big deal about a kerning error? I'd worry if it were in a real product. But this isn't a real product.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    jkichline said:
    frac said:
    jkichline said:
    Who makes these concept mockups? Ugh. Seriously have you never heard of "kerning".  Also, "press any key to unlock"?  What keys? It's a touchscreen, morons.
    I may be missing something, but what has keening got to do with a concept mockup?
    The typography of the clock is terrible and not what a qualified designer, let alone Apple would do. The spacing between "1" and the colon is way too wide as is the alignment of the clock face on the screen. It's just a terrible composition especially if you are proporting it to be a preview of a future Apple product.
    Quite so. I'm so used to ignoring these concept images, I barely give them a glance. But yes...ridiculously wrong. 
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