Apple has had its chips manufactured in five nanometers since the iPhone 12. For the next iPhone 14, it was expected that Apple would make the leap to three nanometers. This would make the Californian manufacturer the first to use 3 Nm chips in mass production.
TSMC can’t do it
As The Information and the Digitimes report independently of each other, Apple had to give up his plans for the 3-nanometer production of the upcoming A16 chip in the iPhone 14. The main supplier TSMC, the Taiwanese semiconductor market leader, is to blame for this.
“The result of TSMC’s difficulties is that for the first time in its history, the iPhone processor will be stuck on the same chip manufacturing process for three years in a row, including the next year, ”writes The Information. As a result, some iPhone customers could use their devices for another year, which could at least result in shorter delivery times than this year.
Digitimes is also assuming a shift and is committed to the fact that Apple will use “N4P” – its improved version of the current manufacturing process – “for all important mobile devices of the year 2022”. This calls into question many of the already expected improvements of the upcoming model.
New manufacturing process opens up new possibilities
Because the switch to the new manufacturing process would have resulted in one thing above all in addition to a general increase in performance – exceptionally small chips. This miniaturization would result in reduced power consumption and thus longer battery life. In addition, there are significant price advantages, because the costs of manufacturing a silicon wafer are based on the number of manufacturing steps required and not on the number of chips on it. In a 3-nanometer production width, more chips fit on a wafer than with the previous process.
With that There are then also new possibilities in all other areas, because previous restrictions on size, costs and heat generation have been lifted. We could have expected a truly revolutionary device. For example, plans for the iPhone 14 that have already been leaked are likely to include much larger camera sensors, a drastic reduction in Face ID and a “complete Redesign “should be reconsidered.
Apple and TSMC – a symbiotic relationship
TSMC should do everything possible to meet the requirements of its most important customer. After all, the iPhone manufacturer is responsible for around a quarter of the 48 billion US dollars in sales that TSMC was able to generate last year. On the other hand, Apple doesn’t have a plan B. If anyone can do 3 nanometers, then TSMC.