In contrast to the split production of A9 chip between TMSC and Samsung, the former is said to have won sole production rights on the A10 SoC for the next-generation ‘iPhone 7’, according to two separate reports, one from Taiwan’s Commercial Times (via EE Times) and another from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, MacRumors is reporting. It is also being said that TSMC may have been awarded sole production rights due to its device packaging techniques which are more advanced than Samsung’s offerings.
The Taiwanese manufacturer’s integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging (InFO WLP) technology is said to be one of the key inclusions in the production contract. For those who aren’t aware, InFO WLP is an advanced 3D IC technology that promises higher levels of component integration in a single package with better electrical characteristics. The report notes that such improvements can lead to higher-width memory buses that support lower-power operation necessary for mobile devices and offer better performance and efficiency.
TSMC’s InFO WLP differs from many competing 3D IC solutions in that it does not require an additional silicon interposer along with the existing package substrate used for component integration. Though they do not feature active components, silicon interposers are made on silicon wafers just like the application processors featured in mobile devices, making them a costly addition to the device assembly.
InFO WLP allows multiple flip chip components to be placed side-by-side on a package substrate resembling a traditional assembly, but with the ability to interconnect to one another through the package substrate. This is in contrast to traditional methods which feature stacked packages (package on package, or PoP) interconnected with tiny wires.
To read more about TSMC’s packaging technologies, check out this document.