Apple's next-gen 'A13' iPhone and iPad chipset will remain 7nm

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple is likely to stick with 7-nanometer chip designs for 2019 iPhone and iPad processors, a report revealed on Friday.

Mockups of Apple's 2018 iPhones.
Mockups of Apple's 2018 iPhones.


Mass production of 5-nanometer chips won't start until the end of 2019 or early 2020, according to C.C. Wei, the CEO of Apple processor manufacturer TSMC, quoted by DigiTimes. "Risk" production will start in early 2019, but Apple would likely need mass production to begin by the summer for devices shipping that year.

Wei added that TSMC is expecting to invest $25 billion in 5-nanometer technology, but without offering a timeline.

Apple is commonly anticipated to be using 7-nanometer technology in this year's "A12" processor for upcoming iPhones. These include 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED devices, and a 6.1-inch LCD product, all liable to be announced in the fall.

Updated iPad Pros will presumably sport a faster "A12X" chip, if the company follows past trends. The tablets may additionally drop home buttons and switch to Face ID.

Shrinking die size allows more processing power to fit into the same space, while also often improving power efficiency. Apple is frequently concerned about both matters, but may be especially interested as it works on its rumored AR/VR headset, which could ship as soon as 2020. That device may use power-hungry technologies such as 8K and WiGig, and wearables must be as slim and lightweight as possible.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Apple skates to where the puck is going to be, but won't release a product until it is fully baked. Always.
    racerhomie3netmagesupadav03
  • Reply 2 of 38
    I would love for new iPads to have A12X chips, but suspect A11Xs are more likely. I don't recall Apple ever releasing iPads with brand new generation chips. They usually have whatever the iPhone had last. Presumably because yields aren't high enough for lower-margin products.
    watto_cobra1983
  • Reply 3 of 38
    I would love for new iPads to have A12X chips, but suspect A11Xs are more likely. I don't recall Apple ever releasing iPads with brand new generation chips. They usually have whatever the iPhone had last. Presumably because yields aren't high enough for lower-margin products.
    A4 was the first Apple chip. And it debuted in iPad.
    macky the mackyjony0watto_cobrabshankAlex1N
  • Reply 4 of 38
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 222member
    I would love for new iPads to have A12X chips, but suspect A11Xs are more likely. I don't recall Apple ever releasing iPads with brand new generation chips. They usually have whatever the iPhone had last. Presumably because yields aren't high enough for lower-margin products.
    The A4 was in the original iPad first, then it was used in iPhone 4 when it was launched a few months later. The A5 hit iPad 2 first, then iPhone 4S a few months later. iPads started getting X variants with the A5X (third-generation iPad) and lagging behind the A# base variant with the A6 (A6 in iPhone 5 in 2012-09, A6X in iPad 4 in 2012-10).
    netmagejony0bshankAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 38
    zimmie said:
    I would love for new iPads to have A12X chips, but suspect A11Xs are more likely. I don't recall Apple ever releasing iPads with brand new generation chips. They usually have whatever the iPhone had last. Presumably because yields aren't high enough for lower-margin products.
    The A4 was in the original iPad first, then it was used in iPhone 4 when it was launched a few months later. The A5 hit iPad 2 first, then iPhone 4S a few months later. iPads started getting X variants with the A5X (third-generation iPad) and lagging behind the A# base variant with the A6 (A6 in iPhone 5 in 2012-09, A6X in iPad 4 in 2012-10).
    And I think the A9 and A9x were announced together.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 38
    TomETomE Posts: 138member
    The new iPad Pros "Should" have the latest chips available.
    The new Mac Pros "Should" also.
    What ever is next should not be behind as they come out of the gate. 
    I understand they are using up parts that they have on hand or have Production purchased.
    I would think is is a logistics nightmare trying to get the products designed, produced, out the door into the supply chain of stores.
    We want the latest when we buy to future proof the products. 
    Specs are important to publish for easy comparison of products.
    Personally, I am very interested in AR, the Mac that may have some App abilities  - this is not hard for them to do . It is working no doubt in the research departments & I have wanted it for years ; it is not as easy as it looks. But . . . .  They can do it.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member
    I’m concerned about the new iPad Pro. We expected the new model around March, which is when it’s been arriving. So I expected an A11X, which would have been in line with the new phone chip, as usual. But here we are, and we’re beginning to pass June - and still no word.

    my concern is whether Apple has an A11X for this new model already. If the delay is due to factors such as case size and form, new screen, Face ID, and some other features, what is Apple planning here? If they expected this to come out much later, when will that be? I don’t like the idea that Apple is stretching out new designs. I get a new iPad every year, and to think that it’s moving to a year and maybe 9 months is too much.

    so if this is an unexpectedly long delay, does Apple have A11X chips for it waiting? If so, I can’t imagine them saving these chips for something else, and going with a new one. If they are going for an A12X, and haven’t made A11X chips, because they expected this long delay, what does that mean in terms of when a new model will arrive? Will we have to wait until September, when the phones come out, as that announcement has priority? That’s a heck of a long time. I don’t see them releasing the A12X before the A12.

    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.
    watto_cobrabshankAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 38
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,957member
    More interested in Apple design built GPU. 7nm to 5nm depends on TSMC or anyone's ability to build 5nm chip fabrication facility and produce chips at sufficient yield.
    edited June 2018 Alex1N
  • Reply 9 of 38
    melgross said:
    I’m concerned about the new iPad Pro. We expected the new model around March, which is when it’s been arriving. So I expected an A11X, which would have been in line with the new phone chip, as usual. But here we are, and we’re beginning to pass June - and still no word.

    my concern is whether Apple has an A11X for this new model already. If the delay is due to factors such as case size and form, new screen, Face ID, and some other features, what is Apple planning here? If they expected this to come out much later, when will that be? I don’t like the idea that Apple is stretching out new designs. I get a new iPad every year, and to think that it’s moving to a year and maybe 9 months is too much.

    so if this is an unexpectedly long delay, does Apple have A11X chips for it waiting? If so, I can’t imagine them saving these chips for something else, and going with a new one. If they are going for an A12X, and haven’t made A11X chips, because they expected this long delay, what does that mean in terms of when a new model will arrive? Will we have to wait until September, when the phones come out, as that announcement has priority? That’s a heck of a long time. I don’t see them releasing the A12X before the A12.

    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.
    You Update your ipad every year?! Really? Isn’t that a bit excessive? To each their own i guess. But I use my ipad for professional artistic purposes, and even I don’t feel the need to update mine every year. I think Apple is moving to longer update cycles for the ipads for that very reason. Unlike iphones, most people don’t feel the need to update their ipads as often. So you may have to get used to that. 
    hodar1983Alex1N
  • Reply 10 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member
    melgross said:
    I’m concerned about the new iPad Pro. We expected the new model around March, which is when it’s been arriving. So I expected an A11X, which would have been in line with the new phone chip, as usual. But here we are, and we’re beginning to pass June - and still no word.

    my concern is whether Apple has an A11X for this new model already. If the delay is due to factors such as case size and form, new screen, Face ID, and some other features, what is Apple planning here? If they expected this to come out much later, when will that be? I don’t like the idea that Apple is stretching out new designs. I get a new iPad every year, and to think that it’s moving to a year and maybe 9 months is too much.

    so if this is an unexpectedly long delay, does Apple have A11X chips for it waiting? If so, I can’t imagine them saving these chips for something else, and going with a new one. If they are going for an A12X, and haven’t made A11X chips, because they expected this long delay, what does that mean in terms of when a new model will arrive? Will we have to wait until September, when the phones come out, as that announcement has priority? That’s a heck of a long time. I don’t see them releasing the A12X before the A12.

    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.
    You Update your ipad every year?! Really? Isn’t that a bit excessive? To each their own i guess. But I use my ipad for professional artistic purposes, and even I don’t feel the need to update mine every year. I think Apple is moving to longer update cycles for the ipads for that very reason. Unlike iphones, most people don’t feel the need to update their ipads as often. So you may have to get used to that. 
    It’s only excessive to those who don’t do it. My daughter does too. For us, it’s worth while. For others, maybe not. But we all update our phones every other year, and get new 
    Macs, when available, between every three or four years. I didn’t intend to replace my gen 2 Apple Watch with the 3 LTE this year, but since my daughter wanted one, I went ahead with it.

    we’re fortunate that we can afford to do this, and I understand that not everyone can. But it’s a very big mistake to think that extending release dates is good. It’s not. It’s very bad. People want a new model, and when it doesn’t arrive, Apple loses sales, sometimes forever. Never think that because you don’t want a new one now, that others, who don’t have it at all yet, won’t want it now, but won’t buy it if it hasn’t been updated for over a year. This is the widely known problem with the Mac. Apple used to update them four times a year, every time a slightly newer version of a CPU came out. Then it went to two times, then one time, and now, we don’t know when they’ll be updated. That’s very bad.

    we need to have regular upgrades that can be counted on, as it was in the last. What they are doing will just kill sales.
    bshankAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member

    wood1208 said:
    More interested in Apple design built GPU. 7nm to 5nm depends on TSMC or anyone's ability to build 5nm chip fabrication facility and produce chips at sufficient yield.
    I’m not confident about 5nm, much less anything smaller. We’re actually seeing transistor efficiency go down since 14nm. It’s been small so far, but the smaller we go, the worse it will get. And certain on chip structures are becoming impossible to make because there’s not enough room at these small sizes. While I think TSMC has claimed that thy will be using a modified FinFet for 5nm, a lot of chip designers have said that FinFet doesn’t work properly at smaller than 7nm, and not as well there as in 10nm.

    so I’m skeptical right now. I’ll believe it when I see it, as they say.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 12 of 38
    techconctechconc Posts: 30member
    melgross said:
    I’m concerned about the new iPad Pro. We expected the new model around March, which is when it’s been arriving. So I expected an A11X, which would have been in line with the new phone chip, as usual. But here we are, and we’re beginning to pass June - and still no word.

    my concern is whether Apple has an A11X for this new model already. If the delay is due to factors such as case size and form, new screen, Face ID, and some other features, what is Apple planning here? If they expected this to come out much later, when will that be? I don’t like the idea that Apple is stretching out new designs. I get a new iPad every year, and to think that it’s moving to a year and maybe 9 months is too much.

    so if this is an unexpectedly long delay, does Apple have A11X chips for it waiting? If so, I can’t imagine them saving these chips for something else, and going with a new one. If they are going for an A12X, and haven’t made A11X chips, because they expected this long delay, what does that mean in terms of when a new model will arrive? Will we have to wait until September, when the phones come out, as that announcement has priority? That’s a heck of a long time. I don’t see them releasing the A12X before the A12.

    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.
    I share your concern about the delay of the updated iPad Pro line. I suspect is has to do with incorporating Face ID, etc. At this point, I really doubt we'd be getting an A11X. I think we're headed for a fall announcement and the iPad Pro comes with the new line of iPhones. The iPhones will get the A12 and the iPads will get the A12X. When you think about it, it would be awkward touting all of the great features in the A12 (second generation Apple GPU, 2nd gen Neural Engine, etc.) and not also include that in the iPad line. If that's the case, then I have no problem waiting until September. For me, that would be moving up from the A9X in the first gen iPad Pro and that would be a massive leap.
    watto_cobra1983bshankAlex1N
  • Reply 13 of 38
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,917member
    melgross said:
    I’m concerned about the new iPad Pro. We expected the new model around March, which is when it’s been arriving. So I expected an A11X, which would have been in line with the new phone chip, as usual. But here we are, and we’re beginning to pass June - and still no word.

    my concern is whether Apple has an A11X for this new model already. If the delay is due to factors such as case size and form, new screen, Face ID, and some other features, what is Apple planning here? If they expected this to come out much later, when will that be? I don’t like the idea that Apple is stretching out new designs. I get a new iPad every year, and to think that it’s moving to a year and maybe 9 months is too much.

    so if this is an unexpectedly long delay, does Apple have A11X chips for it waiting? If so, I can’t imagine them saving these chips for something else, and going with a new one. If they are going for an A12X, and haven’t made A11X chips, because they expected this long delay, what does that mean in terms of when a new model will arrive? Will we have to wait until September, when the phones come out, as that announcement has priority? That’s a heck of a long time. I don’t see them releasing the A12X before the A12.

    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.
    Could be the iPad Pro will get a higher clocked A12. Apple doesn't *always* do an X. 

    And there's absolutely nothing wrong with a higher clock instead of more cores. Intel does that all the time --- the fastest quad core i7 in a desktop is much faster than the fastest quad core i7 in a laptop. 
    edited June 2018 watto_cobra1983Alex1N
  • Reply 14 of 38
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,854member
    melgross said:
    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.

    You don't know the performance of the upcoming A12, it may in fact not be as powerful as an "A11X". You also don't know if Apple has decided to develop the A12 and A12X in tandem and plan on releasing new iPad Pros along side new iPhones in the Fall.

    However, the latest iPad Pros were released in June of last year at WWDC, so it would not be that unreasonable to have an event in July with an A11X update to the iPad Pro.
    edited June 2018 watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 15 of 38
    The A9X came out right after the A9. The A10X came out about 9 months after the A10. We didn’t get the A11X in an iPad Pro yet so it’s quite possible Apple jumps right to an A12X and announces it this fall.

    Also consider Apple now makes their own custom GPU. Since they now control their entire SoC I imagine it’d be easier to develop and release both processors at the same time.

    I expect an A12X iPad Pro either in September (with the iPhone) or a month or two later.
    watto_cobra1983Alex1N
  • Reply 16 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member
    blastdoor said:
    melgross said:
    I’m concerned about the new iPad Pro. We expected the new model around March, which is when it’s been arriving. So I expected an A11X, which would have been in line with the new phone chip, as usual. But here we are, and we’re beginning to pass June - and still no word.

    my concern is whether Apple has an A11X for this new model already. If the delay is due to factors such as case size and form, new screen, Face ID, and some other features, what is Apple planning here? If they expected this to come out much later, when will that be? I don’t like the idea that Apple is stretching out new designs. I get a new iPad every year, and to think that it’s moving to a year and maybe 9 months is too much.

    so if this is an unexpectedly long delay, does Apple have A11X chips for it waiting? If so, I can’t imagine them saving these chips for something else, and going with a new one. If they are going for an A12X, and haven’t made A11X chips, because they expected this long delay, what does that mean in terms of when a new model will arrive? Will we have to wait until September, when the phones come out, as that announcement has priority? That’s a heck of a long time. I don’t see them releasing the A12X before the A12.

    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.
    Could be the iPad Pro will get a higher clocked A12. Apple doesn't *always* do an X. 

    And there's absolutely nothing wrong with a higher clock instead of more cores. Intel does that all the time --- the fastest quad core i7 in a desktop is much faster than the fastest quad core i7 in a laptop. 
    They’ve done an X for years. The higher screen resolution alone requires it. You can’t increase clock speeds by a large enough amount to make up for performance lack. There’s a good reason why Apple went to more cores, and why they use double the cores for the GPU than what’s on the phone.

    flr the purpose, an iPad Pro needs a significantly more powerful SoC.
    mcdavewatto_cobra1983Alex1N
  • Reply 17 of 38
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,647member

    mjtomlin said:
    melgross said:
    i would not be happy with an A11X now, because normally the newest chip for the phone has approximately the same performance as the previous generation iPad X version. So that would have the new phones on a par with the new iPad Pro 12.9”. That’s really unacceptable. When considering the far higher resolution, it’s even worse.

    You don't know the performance of the upcoming A12, it may in fact not be as powerful as an "A11X". You also don't know if Apple has decided to develop the A12 and A12X in tandem and plan on releasing new iPad Pros along side new iPhones in the Fall.

    However, the latest iPad Pros were released in June of last year at WWDC, so it would not be that unreasonable to have an event in July with an A11X update to the iPad Pro.
    You’re right, we don’t know. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t logic to this that we can apply, and that’s what I try to do. But if Apple adds another 30% performance per core, then an A12 will be as powerful as an A11X, with the extra core. Generally, the latest GPU for the iPhone is about as powerful as the previous GPU for the iPad, which has twice as many cores.

    that’s what we/ve been seeing for several years. Will Apple change it up? Maybe. But why? The best situation is what we see now. The iPad version has more cores and slightly higher clock speed. It’s about 35% better in performance than the iPhone version for the cpu, and about 50% better for the GPU. You can’t just increase the speed by 30-40%. Power draw and heat will go up by about 50% if you do, but performance will just rise by about 25%. That’s a truly lousy trade off.

    the reason why I feel uncomfortable about a July release with an older chip design is that the new phones are just around the corner. Then iPad performance will be compared to the iPhone performance, and will be seen as wanting. Whether some want to believe it or not, while the phone are compared to other phones, the iPad Pro is compared to notebooks. Performance needs to be enhanced as much as possible.
    edited June 2018 watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 18 of 38
    hodarhodar Posts: 267member
    melgross said:

    wood1208 said:
    More interested in Apple design built GPU. 7nm to 5nm depends on TSMC or anyone's ability to build 5nm chip fabrication facility and produce chips at sufficient yield.
    I’m not confident about 5nm, much less anything smaller. We’re actually seeing transistor efficiency go down since 14nm. It’s been small so far, but the smaller we go, the worse it will get. And certain on chip structures are becoming impossible to make because there’s not enough room at these small sizes. While I think TSMC has claimed that thy will be using a modified FinFet for 5nm, a lot of chip designers have said that FinFet doesn’t work properly at smaller than 7nm, and not as well there as in 10nm.

    so I’m skeptical right now. I’ll believe it when I see it, as they say.
    Having worked in the semiconductor industry over 15 years ago; A LOT has changed.  But, one of the major problems that always got worse with each die shrink, was the Lithography steps.  I can't imagine how you can mask your layers, with only 5nm geometries.  After awhile, physics simply stops you.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 19 of 38
    joe28753joe28753 Posts: 76member
    hodar said:
    melgross said:

    wood1208 said:
    More interested in Apple design built GPU. 7nm to 5nm depends on TSMC or anyone's ability to build 5nm chip fabrication facility and produce chips at sufficient yield.
    I’m not confident about 5nm, much less anything smaller. We’re actually seeing transistor efficiency go down since 14nm. It’s been small so far, but the smaller we go, the worse it will get. And certain on chip structures are becoming impossible to make because there’s not enough room at these small sizes. While I think TSMC has claimed that thy will be using a modified FinFet for 5nm, a lot of chip designers have said that FinFet doesn’t work properly at smaller than 7nm, and not as well there as in 10nm.

    so I’m skeptical right now. I’ll believe it when I see it, as they say.
    Having worked in the semiconductor industry over 15 years ago; A LOT has changed.  But, one of the major problems that always got worse with each die shrink, was the Lithography steps.  I can't imagine how you can mask your layers, with only 5nm geometries.  After awhile, physics simply stops you.
    They're already making and selling the high-NA EUV machines for this. https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1333017 It's basically crazy good optics, shooting better lasers in a vacuum sealed enclosure, and other neat science tricks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_ultraviolet_lithography
    There's BEUV (Beyond Extreme UV) that would come next. But yeah physics makes it challenging.
    edited June 2018 Alex1N
  • Reply 20 of 38
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,785member
    I would love for new iPads to have A12X chips, but suspect A11Xs are more likely. I don't recall Apple ever releasing iPads with brand new generation chips. They usually have whatever the iPhone had last. Presumably because yields aren't high enough for lower-margin products.
    If we had A11X scheduled upgraded iPads would be shipping by now.   That doesnt mean A12X in the next iPad but rather an A11X running on a process shrink, an A11 & 1/2X if you will.  Such a pricessor could explain why rumors have suggested that 7nm processors for Apple are already being produced.   

    The big advantage for Apple would be a huge power savings in iPad coupled with an upgraded GPU.   Probably a significant boost in clock rate for the existing CPU design.  This would allow Apple to really boost iPad and other devices performance levels without the wait for the architecture upgrades.   If they are hell bent on an ARM based Mac Book this would be the quickest way to acceptable performance.   Waiting on an A12X would delay things another year.  

    Alex1N
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