While there are still a few weeks remaining until Apple unveils the highly-anticipated iPhone 6 with a rumored dual-core Apple A8 chip, a new report claims that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is advancing volume production of chips based on a 16nm process, including the Apple A9 processor, to the first quarter of 2015.
The report comes from the Chinese-language Economic Daily News in Taiwan, which was relayed by the Taiwanese blog DigiTimes. “TSMC originally planned to kicked off 16nm volume production in second-quarter 2015,” the report reads. “TSMC faces strong competition from Samsung Electronics’ foundry business.”
The advantages of a 16nm process for a device like the iPhone includes faster performance and improved battery life compared to the current 32nm Apple A6 chip on the iPhone 5s and 20nm process that TSMC is expected to use for the iPhone 6.
TSMC is expecting strong demand from Apple for the upcoming A9 chip, and will begin producing a monthly output of 50,000 wafers a full quarter sooner than originally anticipated. The next-generation Apple A9 chip would likely be used to power future iPhone and iPad models released in 2015 or later.
Apple is expected to become TSMC’s biggest client, based on ongoing production of the Apple A8 chip and a future commitment to manufacture the Apple A9 chip in 2015.
While Samsung is expected to produce up to 40 percent of Apple A9 chips, TSMC could be more attractive to Apple now that it has readied a 16nm process throughout its manufacturing line.
The report adds that GlobalFoundries will share production of the Apple A9 chip.[via DigiTimes]