TSMC's 7nm chip capacity may be maxed out during 2019 iPhone production

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in iPhone
Apple's A-series processor manufacturer, TSMC, may see its 7-nanometer chip capacity pushed to the absolute limit in preparation for 2019 iPhones, a report claimed on Thursday.

iPhone XS


Two other chip creators, Qualcomm and MediaTek, are keeping a "close eye" on 7nm utilization at TSMC and will probably demand more wafer starts beginning in the late second quarter, DigiTimes said citing industry sources. Since production for 2019 iPhones is already expected to control most of TSMC's capacity during the third quarter, that could mean 7nm lines will be maxed out.

Apple is TSMC's most important client, and was in fact the first to adopt 7nm for smartphones. Shrinking die size lets iPhones gain internal space and/or power efficiency, and sometimes shrink in overall thickness -- though Apple appears to have dropped that as a priority with the iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XS.

Relatively little is known about Apple's 2019 iPhone designs, except that the company should once again have two OLED models and one with LCD, and adopt a triple-lens rear camera, which could include new zoom and/or depth-sensing functions. They may be able to perform reverse wireless charging, for example powering the AirPods Wireless Charging Case.

The next A-series processor will presumably be called the "A13" and increase both general and graphics performance.

DigiTimes is a good source of supply chain information, such as factory builds and capacity limitations. It is a less accurate predictor of Apple's specific plans.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    oh no! Drama in the manufacturing sector. They will make every chip apple needs with no problem and no drama. They will also not make more than Apple needs
    lkruppolswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 3
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,060member
    Time to talk AAPL down once again?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 3
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,761member
    Both Huawei and Apple were first to get TSMC 7nm process chips. They were being pumped out in parallel while others waited. In that waiting crowd, TSMC cited ten or eleven customers and it seemed that demand was assured for a reasonable period of time.

    Reports now point to Huawei being the first to be served with second generation 7nm chips:

    https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/282854-huawei-may-be-tsmcs-first-7nm-euv-customer

    Those chips should enter mass production soon (if they aren't already).

    To complicate matters even more, Huawei has increased orders due to political tensions and has decided use more of its own chips in a wider array of its products. The increase has been substantial.

    I can see that TSMC may be running at capacity for a time.


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