Apple and TSMC have allegedly signed a three-year agreement for the Taiwanese company to provide the next A-series chips using 20 nm, 16 nm and 10 nm processes, Digitimes’ sources report.
The sources claim TSMC will start manufacturing Apple’s A8 chips in small volumes next month, and substantially increase production from December. The A8 chip will reportedly power the iPhone scheduled for release in early 2014.
TSMC will start to manufacture Apple’s A8 chips in small volume in July 2013, and substantially ramp up its 20nm production capacity after December, the sources revealed. The foundry will complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014, the sources said.
A portion of the upcoming production capacity, estimated at 20,000 wafers, can later be upgraded to process wafers used to build 16nm chips, the sources continued. TSMC is scheduled to volume produce the Apple A9 and A9X processors starting the end of third-quarter 2014, the sources said.
Also, TSMC will volume-produce the Apple A9 and A9X processors, starting at the end of the third quarter next year, which will be used in the newer-generation iPhones and iPads, industry sources speaking with Digitimes claim.
It was said that TSMC’s phase 4, 5, and 6 facilities at its Fab 14 located in southern Taiwan will be dedicated solely to Apple, although it is not clear at this moment if the Taiwanese manufacturer will be Apple’s only supplier.
It’s worth noting here that Digitimes has often proved to be inaccurate, although an Apple–TSMC partnership has been rumoured for a while now, and the rumour has gained traction as the relationship between Apple and its exclusive chip provider has turned sour.
The rumour seems to contradict earlier whispers talking about TSMC manufacturing the A7 chip using a 20 nm process, which was supposed to be ready for mass production early next year.