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Apple Supplier TSMC Reportedly Begins Production of 7-Nanometer A12 Chips for 2018 iPhones

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Apple supplier TSMC has reportedly started production on the processors set to debut inside this year’s lineup of new iPhones.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, the processors, likely to be called the A12, are currently at the mass-production stage at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the manufacturing partner that Apple has been using for its processors since parting ways with Samsung.

The processor “will use a 7-nanometer design that can be smaller, faster and more efficient than the 10-nanometer chips in current Apple devices like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X,” reads the report.

Reducing the nanometer size of chips is commonly called “shrinking,” with a million nanometers fitting into each single millimeter. Current top-of-the-line Apple products — and most of their competitors — use larger 10-nanometer chips that require roughly 30 percent more energy and physical size to deliver the same performance as 7-nanometer parts. Chipmakers can choose between 7-nanometer chips that are functionally equivalent but markedly smaller than 10nm versions or those that offer superior in performance at the same size.

The smaller chips should allow for more design flexibility, but will also likely be faster and more efficient, allowing for better performance and longer battery life.

Even though Apple isn’t the only company working on 7-nanometer mobile chips – both Samsung and Qualcomm are working towards this architecture, as is probably Huawei – it’s likely that the new iPhone line up will be the first to market with these chips.

The Taiwanese chipmaker confirmed to Bloomberg that production had begun, but declined to disclose Apple as its customer.

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