A report from Digitimes on Friday says Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has begun to ‘tape out’ the A11 chip expected to be the brains behind the 2017 model iPhone. “Taping out” is the point in the development of a chip where the chip fabricator has finalized the initial design, and is ready to create the photomask to be used for production.
TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to the customer for validation in the first quarter of 2017, the sources continued.
The A11 will be based on a 10nm process, which TSMC is still developing. The firm expects the process to be certified by the final quarter of 2016, allowing time to deliver samples to Apple in the first quarter of 2017, with production beginning the second quarter of next year.
The Digitimes report indicates TSMC is expecting to handle around two-thirds of the production for the new chip, which based on Apple’s usual two-year upgrade cycle, should be destined for use in the “iPhone 7s.”
TSMC made a deal with Apple in February to be the sole supplier of the A10, which should power Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 flagship phone lineup, due to be announced this fall.
Note: TSMC has responded to the Digitimes report, saying the company does not comment on market rumors or speculation.