Upcoming 7nm A12 Chip to Help Apple Establish Significant Tech Lead Over Rivals

With the release of this year’s iPhone lineup, Apple will be able to establish a significant technological lead ahead of its rivals.

That’s according to a new report from DigiTimes, which claims that Apple‘s highly-anticipated 7-nanometer A12 chipset will put the Cupertino company leaps ahead of rivals such as Samsung, Google, and LG.

A switch to a better manufacturing process will bring significant performance increases, while at the same time using less power. And other improvements are expected to further boost the speed.

Apple designs its processors, but the A12 is being manufactured exclusively by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). This Taiwanese company’s breakthrough this year is chips with a 7nm process, down from 10nm. Packing these components more tightly means better performance and less heat waste, saving power.

Apple always delivers a healthy speed boost when it launches a new iPhone, but the new 7nm chip could bring a huge jump over the A11, as well as rivals’ newest models. According to the report, Android manufacturers are unlikely to make the move from 10nm to 7nm chipsets for a while:

With sub-10nm node manufacturing requiring huge [capital investment], a number of foundries have slowed down their investment pace while fabless chipmakers stick with 14/12nm products for cost reasons […]

Both Qualcomm and MediaTek are believed to have postponed the launch of their 7nm chip solutions to 2019 from the previously-planned 2018, according to the source […]

UMC has shifted its investment focus to mature and specialty process nodes, while Globalfoundries has decided to put its 7nm FinFET program on hold indefinitely.

If this is indeed the case, this makes Apple’s chipmaker TSMC the only manufacturer with 7nm process capabilities. Samsung has announced its own plans to develop a 7nm chipset, however, there is no timeframe on when it will be ready.

Previously, Apple split its orders between both Samsung and TSMC, but the latter beat out the former to a 10nm process, and as such, has been Apple’s only supplier since the iPhone 7.

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