TSMC in mass production of 10nm 'A11' chips for Apple's 'iPhone 8'

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in iPhone
TSMC is reportedly churning out 10-nanometer "A11" processors for Apple's "iPhone 8," which is likely to be announced early next month -- even if a ship date is still nebulous.




TSMC is applying the same 10-nanometer FinFET manufacturing technique being used to make A10X chips for this year's 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, DigiTimes said on Monday. The A10X is in fact believed to be the first chip produced with the technique, though TSMC does have other clients.

By contrast, the A10 used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sports a 16-nanometer design. Shrinking allows for better performance in a similarly-sized package, including more power effienciency.

The "iPhone 8" could ship as soon as next month -- but if so, possibly in very low quantities. Indeed it's rumored that the phone will only start mass assembly in September, when typically Apple prefers to have a month or two under its belt for any new iPhone.

The company may be counting on the "iPhone 7s" and "7s Plus," which should share some "8" features -- like the "A11" and wireless charging -- but use 4.7- and 5.5-inch LCDs instead of an edge-to-edge, 5.8-inch OLED panel. They should also have physical home buttons with Touch ID, whereas the "8" will have a virtual button and may even abandon Touch ID in favor of facial recognition.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    I'm guessing the 7s, 7s Plus, and 8 will all share the same A11 chip. There isn't really any reason to think otherwise.

    It is amazing to think that the 7s/7s Plus will be typical "S" model phones that could have stood alone as worthy upgrades...and in the shadow of the 8 they will essentially just be the "good enough" model for users looking at price over everything else.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
  • Reply 3 of 30
    robjnrobjn Posts: 203member
    Another "iPhone 8" headline with a story that actually applies to all the upcoming iPhones.
    repressthisRayz20161983Aviesheknetmage
  • Reply 4 of 30
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,542member
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone 8 is the lead in a new class of "super premium iPhones" that is able to provide an enhanced features set less burdened by constraints of the supply chain at typical iPhone volumes of near 200 million units a year. Expect these to be built in much smaller volumes, constrained in this specify case by the limited availability of OLED displays.
    repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 30
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone "Pro" seems to be a new premium product line, priced above the existing iPhone X/XS line. The same happened with iPad ---> iPad Pro as well as iMac and iPod. Why? Because marginal revenue exceeds marginal cost for the new product line (after accounting for "cannibalization"). Apple may charge $300 more for the Pro, but only spend only $150 more to design and produce it, compared to iPhone 7S.
    netmage
  • Reply 6 of 30
    They should make two of the next iPhone and sell them for a trillion dollars each.
    StrangeDaysAvieshek
  • Reply 7 of 30
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    Been under a rock?

    Apple has been gearing up for this for years. They started with the 5c/5s. Then the 6 series had 2 models at 2 different price points. The 7 Plus introduced the concept of a premium model (and an exclusive color) that was more expensive than other models.

    7s / 7s Plus / "Pro" are different tiers, with different functionality, at different price points. The latter being the key difference between them that gives them their own segment of the market place.

    Apple has every ability in the world to sell a $1000+ iPhone. But that can't be their only iPhone. Having a Good, Better, Best that span $650-$1150 allows Apple to conquer the entirely meaningful segment of the market.
    lolliver
  • Reply 8 of 30
    You don't think the A11 will be souped-up for the anniversary model? Especially if Apple ends up calling it "iPhone Pro?" Maybe A11X?
  • Reply 9 of 30
    May see some surprises, but A11 likely will be the same, maybe more RAM in iPhone Pro. 

    A possible surprise, no 7S or 7S Plus
    iPhone:  A11, reduced bezels and larger display, improved camera, fingerprint sensor moved to back
    iPhone Plus: A11, reduced bezels and larger display, improved camera, fingerprint sensor moved to back
    iPhone Pro: A11, almost no bezel, OLED, FaceID, 3D camera, Apple Neural Processor


  • Reply 10 of 30
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,071member
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone "Pro" seems to be a new premium product line, priced above the existing iPhone X/XS line. The same happened with iPad ---> iPad Pro as well as iMac and iPod. Why? Because marginal revenue exceeds marginal cost for the new product line (after accounting for "cannibalization"). Apple may charge $300 more for the Pro, but only spend only $150 more to design and produce it, compared to iPhone 7S.
    Analysts like Gruber feel differently about the reason — they feel the super success of the iphone and the sheer quantity of units needed for it prevent Apple from debuting premium components due to impossibility of meeting demand (the immense scale of the popular iphone). Thus producing a new product line that is priced higher and sold in smaller numbers will allow them to deploy said premium components. 
    tmay1983netmage
  • Reply 11 of 30
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member
    I'm guessing the 7s, 7s Plus, and 8 will all share the same A11 chip. There isn't really any reason to think otherwise.

    It is amazing to think that the 7s/7s Plus will be typical "S" model phones that could have stood alone as worthy upgrades...and in the shadow of the 8 they will essentially just be the "good enough" model for users looking at price over everything else.
    Exactly. I would think that the A11 for all of these new phones would be exactly the same. Unless Apple decides to up the speed that it runs at by a bit, if the cooling allows it, to set performance up by a bit for the 8. But probably not.

    what I do wonder about is whether the new machine learning chip is ready for use, and if so, whether it will appear in all three phones, or possibly, just the 8.
    edited August 2017 tmayMetriacanthosauruslolliver
  • Reply 12 of 30
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,542member
    melgross said:
    I'm guessing the 7s, 7s Plus, and 8 will all share the same A11 chip. There isn't really any reason to think otherwise.

    It is amazing to think that the 7s/7s Plus will be typical "S" model phones that could have stood alone as worthy upgrades...and in the shadow of the 8 they will essentially just be the "good enough" model for users looking at price over everything else.
    Exactly. I would think that the A11 for all of these new phones would be exactly the same. Unless Apple decides to up the speed that it runs at by a bit, if the cooling allows it, to set performance up by a bit for the 8. But probably not.

    what I do wonder about is whether the new machine learning chip is ready for use, and if so, whether it will appear in all three phones, or possibly, just the 8.
    If the AI and AR chips are in volume production, sure, it will happen for all three models, as these features drive services. There will be plenty of differentiation for the iPhone 8 otherwise.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member

    You don't think the A11 will be souped-up for the anniversary model? Especially if Apple ends up calling it "iPhone Pro?" Maybe A11X?
    I think that while it’s possible Apple might do that, there are reasons why they likely won’t. The two factors are heat and power consumption. While a tablet can carry a much bigger battery, which takes care of the power consumption, that leaves the heat produced by that extra input power. Phones have a small chassis. As a result, they aren’t great at heat dissipation. We all feel the phone get hot with extended use. This would make that worse, and cause lifetime problems for the hotter components.

    alao, raising the voltage 10% to fine just 10% more performance, increases power draw by more than 20% it just isn’t worth it.

    as for the doubling of the graphic cores, we have a similar problem, which is more power draw. With the lower resolution of the screen when compared to the tablets, it isn’t needed. Particularly for the 8, which supposedly has a tru 3 times resolution factor. The present system of sizing to 3 times in chip (for the larger + phones), and then resizing down to the screen Rez, isn’t needed, enhancing performance.
    repressthis
  • Reply 14 of 30
    You don't think the A11 will be souped-up for the anniversary model? Especially if Apple ends up calling it "iPhone Pro?" Maybe A11X?
    Apple has done that in iPads, not Pro models specifically. The larger battery lets them run more cores and faster graphics which are needed for the larger display anyway.

    The OLED iPhone 8 will certainly have its own set of needs, but it will probably be covered under the A11. It isn't like Apple is purposely developing a "good" chip and a "great" chip at the same time. They'll make 1 great chip and tune it appropriately (an "A11X" is not "tuning").
    radarthekatrepressthis
  • Reply 15 of 30
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone "Pro" seems to be a new premium product line, priced above the existing iPhone X/XS line. The same happened with iPad ---> iPad Pro as well as iMac and iPod. Why? Because marginal revenue exceeds marginal cost for the new product line (after accounting for "cannibalization"). Apple may charge $300 more for the Pro, but only spend only $150 more to design and produce it, compared to iPhone 7S.
    Analysts like Gruber feel differently about the reason — they feel the super success of the iphone and the sheer quantity of units needed for it prevent Apple from debuting premium components due to impossibility of meeting demand (the immense scale of the popular iphone). Thus producing a new product line that is priced higher and sold in smaller numbers will allow them to deploy said premium components. 
    And that does make sense. Much of what phone makers do in their flagship phones these days is pretty much bleeding edge stuff, And much of those technologies are produced by small companies. Developing a new technology, and then getting some humongous order, is likely to result in delays. If that tech is ready 6 months early, maybe they can produce enough, but too often, it isn’t ready until much closer to assembly time, so they can’t produce all that may be needed. Even Samsung is struggling to meet Apple’s demand for OLED screens, and the cutout, according to a named Foxconn official, is causing a 40% reject rate, which is huge for production line manufacturing. So if Samsung is planning for an initial production of, from what we hear, 90 million screens for Apple, which, by the way, is a lot more OLED screens that they make for their own flagship phones in an entire year, then there’s not enough for all 3 models at once, this model year.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 16 of 30
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member
    tmay said:
    melgross said:
    I'm guessing the 7s, 7s Plus, and 8 will all share the same A11 chip. There isn't really any reason to think otherwise.

    It is amazing to think that the 7s/7s Plus will be typical "S" model phones that could have stood alone as worthy upgrades...and in the shadow of the 8 they will essentially just be the "good enough" model for users looking at price over everything else.
    Exactly. I would think that the A11 for all of these new phones would be exactly the same. Unless Apple decides to up the speed that it runs at by a bit, if the cooling allows it, to set performance up by a bit for the 8. But probably not.

    what I do wonder about is whether the new machine learning chip is ready for use, and if so, whether it will appear in all three phones, or possibly, just the 8.
    If the AI and AR chips are in volume production, sure, it will happen for all three models, as these features drive services. There will be plenty of differentiation for the iPhone 8 otherwise.
    I would hope so, but we don’t know. It’s possible that Apple would reserve this for the 8 this year, for differentiation, (and remember that these chips are NOT required for ARkit) and next year, could spread throughout the line, including iPad Pro models, and maybe even later, for the $329 iPad as well.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    19831983 Posts: 1,158member
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone "Pro" seems to be a new premium product line, priced above the existing iPhone X/XS line. The same happened with iPad ---> iPad Pro as well as iMac and iPod. Why? Because marginal revenue exceeds marginal cost for the new product line (after accounting for "cannibalization"). Apple may charge $300 more for the Pro, but only spend only $150 more to design and produce it, compared to iPhone 7S.
    Analysts like Gruber feel differently about the reason — they feel the super success of the iphone and the sheer quantity of units needed for it prevent Apple from debuting premium components due to impossibility of meeting demand (the immense scale of the popular iphone). Thus producing a new product line that is priced higher and sold in smaller numbers will allow them to deploy said premium components. 
    That seems to be a good strategy. We get the standard iPhone's with constant improvements and an upper tier less widely available iPhone with state of the art tech to keep Apple ahead of the curve. And maybe slow down the specification advantage Android phones have had for a few years now.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 18 of 30
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member
    1983 said:
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone "Pro" seems to be a new premium product line, priced above the existing iPhone X/XS line. The same happened with iPad ---> iPad Pro as well as iMac and iPod. Why? Because marginal revenue exceeds marginal cost for the new product line (after accounting for "cannibalization"). Apple may charge $300 more for the Pro, but only spend only $150 more to design and produce it, compared to iPhone 7S.
    Analysts like Gruber feel differently about the reason — they feel the super success of the iphone and the sheer quantity of units needed for it prevent Apple from debuting premium components due to impossibility of meeting demand (the immense scale of the popular iphone). Thus producing a new product line that is priced higher and sold in smaller numbers will allow them to deploy said premium components. 
    That seems to be a good strategy. We get the standard iPhone's with constant improvements and an upper tier less widely available iPhone with state of the art tech to keep Apple ahead of the curve. And maybe slow down the specification advantage Android phones have had for a few years now.
    What specification advantage that Android has?
    watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 19 of 30
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    1983 said:
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone "Pro" seems to be a new premium product line, priced above the existing iPhone X/XS line. The same happened with iPad ---> iPad Pro as well as iMac and iPod. Why? Because marginal revenue exceeds marginal cost for the new product line (after accounting for "cannibalization"). Apple may charge $300 more for the Pro, but only spend only $150 more to design and produce it, compared to iPhone 7S.
    Analysts like Gruber feel differently about the reason — they feel the super success of the iphone and the sheer quantity of units needed for it prevent Apple from debuting premium components due to impossibility of meeting demand (the immense scale of the popular iphone). Thus producing a new product line that is priced higher and sold in smaller numbers will allow them to deploy said premium components. 
    That seems to be a good strategy. We get the standard iPhone's with constant improvements and an upper tier less widely available iPhone with state of the art tech to keep Apple ahead of the curve. And maybe slow down the specification advantage Android phones have had for a few years now.
    What specification advantage?    For the most part Android phone suck specification wise. Beyond that i believe there is a real tolerance level with respect to what people will tolerate in a phone.   To get past this Apple needsto come up with a formula that offeres notably better value. Ive yet to see a featture set for iPhone Pro that justifies the rumored price.  I actually see a flop in the making.  


    It is a bit like what movie theaters are. Going through right now.   Holloywood offers up marginal movies at a cost consummers wont tolerate and sales plummet.    I dont see idiots shelling out hundreds of dollars just because one phone has an OLED screen.  
  • Reply 20 of 30
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member
    wizard69 said:
    1983 said:
    Why is Apple trying to release the 7s and 8 in the same year?
    The iPhone "Pro" seems to be a new premium product line, priced above the existing iPhone X/XS line. The same happened with iPad ---> iPad Pro as well as iMac and iPod. Why? Because marginal revenue exceeds marginal cost for the new product line (after accounting for "cannibalization"). Apple may charge $300 more for the Pro, but only spend only $150 more to design and produce it, compared to iPhone 7S.
    Analysts like Gruber feel differently about the reason — they feel the super success of the iphone and the sheer quantity of units needed for it prevent Apple from debuting premium components due to impossibility of meeting demand (the immense scale of the popular iphone). Thus producing a new product line that is priced higher and sold in smaller numbers will allow them to deploy said premium components. 
    That seems to be a good strategy. We get the standard iPhone's with constant improvements and an upper tier less widely available iPhone with state of the art tech to keep Apple ahead of the curve. And maybe slow down the specification advantage Android phones have had for a few years now.
    What specification advantage?    For the most part Android phone suck specification wise. Beyond that i believe there is a real tolerance level with respect to what people will tolerate in a phone.   To get past this Apple needsto come up with a formula that offeres notably better value. Ive yet to see a featture set for iPhone Pro that justifies the rumored price.  I actually see a flop in the making.  


    It is a bit like what movie theaters are. Going through right now.   Holloywood offers up marginal movies at a cost consummers wont tolerate and sales plummet.    I dont see idiots shelling out hundreds of dollars just because one phone has an OLED screen.  
    While I somewhat agree, we still don’t know actual pricing. Until we do, it’s hard to really speculate. As discussed above, Apple may have their new chips available. If so, will they just go into the 8 this year? That could markedly improve performance in speech recognition locally, as well as specific AR applications. If so, then that would be a good differentiator. The new cameras are also differentiating. The IR for facial recognition. The high def front camera, able to shoot 4K at 60 FPS, assuming that’s correct, new rear cameras, wireless charging, assuming they don’t all do that, etc. these are enough differences to make higher pricing viable, depending on what that price adds.

    frankly, while I see Apple’s OLED costing more than Samsung’s current versions they use, because of the cutout, which seems to be causing problems, I don’t see an OLED adding much to the price. We see the prices of Samsung’s phones, and they’re about what Apple charges, and are often sold at high discounts.
    repressthis
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