Apple chipmaking partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is on-track to shrink its chip fabrication process to 5 nanometers for use in the A-series chips used in Apple’s 2020 iPhone lineup.
In addition, TSMC has obtained 7nm chip orders for 5G related applications including HPC and IoT from AMD, Nvidia, Xilinx, NXP, OmniVision and TI, the sources added. TSMC is expected to secure the first 5nm chip orders from Apple for the 2020 iPhones, the sources continued.
TSMC has confirmed that it has plans to invest $25 billion in volume production of 5nM chips by 2020. The DigiTimes report jibes with the expectations that those chips will be used in Apple’s smartphone lineup next year.
Over the past years, TSMC has continued to experience success in the miniaturization of its chips, leading to its being the exclusive provider of Apple’s A-series chips over the last 3 years. The A10 Fusion chip (used in the iPhone 7/7 Plus) is 16nm, the A11 Bionic (iPhone 8/8 Plus and iPhone X) is 10nm, and the A12 (iPhone XR/XS/XS Max) is a 7nm chip.
Although this year’s “A13” chip is expected to also use a 5nm process, it is expected to be the first chip to benefit from the use of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), which allows for a more microscopic chip layering process.