TSMC to Exclusively Fabricate Apple’s A-Series Chips until 2020

TSMC lobby

After winning exclusive orders for Apple’s A12 chip for the 2018 iPhones, TSMC seems to have also won orders for the company’s A13 chips which will be used in 2019 iPhones and iPads. In fact, the report states that Apple plans to exclusively use TSMC as its supplier for at least the next two years.

The report from EE Times claims that Apple continues to prefer TSMC’s foundries over that of Samsung as the former has been consistently able to offer something new to Apple. TSMC will be fabricating Apple’s upcoming A12 chipset on its 7nm foundry. Both companies are heavily relying on each other, with TSMC expecting Apple’s A12 chips order to constitute about 80 percent of its 7nm chip production capacity.

“As long as TSMC continues to offer something new at leading-edge every year and continues to execute well on yield, I could see Apple remaining sole source on foundry at TSMC for years to come,” Arete Research analyst Brett Simpson said in an interview with EE Times.

Apple had last used Samsung’s foundries to fabricate its A9 chip which was found inside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus released back in 2015. Since then though, Apple has solely used TSMC’s foundries to fabricate its latest chip. To continue this relationship, TSMC has also ensured that it is able to offer Apple the cutting-edge fabrication process and technology. Foundries from Samsung and Intel have struggled in this regard. While Intel and Samsung are still fabricating chips on the 10nm process, TSMC will start fabricating 7nm chips for Apple and then for Qualcomm from later this year.

Apple usually relies on multiple vendors for key iPhone components. However, for something as critical as its A-series chips, it is unusual to see the company rely solely on TSMC foundries. However, given the technical edge that TSMC has over its competitors, the Cupertino company has no other option. A lower fabrication process will allow for better thermal performance and allow Apple to pack in more transistors for better performance.

[Via EE Times]