TSMC has started the production of Apple’s A12 chip that will be used on its upcoming 2018 iPhone lineup based on its 7nm fabrication process. TSMC is going to be the sole supplier of chips in Apple’s supply chain lineup for its 2018 iPhones just like the last few generations.
The A12 chip from Apple is based on the 7nm fab which makes it smaller and more power efficient than the A11 Bionic chip found inside the iPhone X and iPhone 8. When the 2018 iPhone launches with the new A12 chip, they would be the first in the market to feature a 7nm chip. Qualcomm and Samsung have already unveiled their flagship processors for 2018 but both of them are based on the 7nm fab. Samsung, however, does plan to start the mass production of 7nm chips from later this year.
A report from late April had claimed that TSMC is “about to start fulfilling” orders for Apple’s A12 chips. With TSMC now mass producing A12 chips, Apple can potentially start a trial production run of its 2018 iPhones. The earlier than usual timeframe for the trial production will provide the company with extra time to prepare for any disruptions or issues during mass production.
Apple is expected to launch three new iPhones in 2018. One of them will be the successor to the 5.8-inch iPhone X from last year which will be accompanied by a 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus. There will also be a cheaper 6.1-inch variant featuring an LCD panel and making a few other compromises to keep its price down. All the three variants, however, will feature a notched display with a bezel-less design and Face ID.