TSMC lands CPU orders for Apple’s giant-sized iPad

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The 2nd gen iPad Air's A8X chip and logic board. Photo: Apple.Club.tw
The 2nd gen iPad Air's A8X chip and logic board. Photo: Apple.Club.tw

There have been plenty of reports lately about Apple’s plans to unleash a giant-sized 12.9-inch iPad early next year, and according to a new report from Digitimes, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has landed the orders to make its soup-up processor.

TSMC is currently responsible for fabricating the A8 processors for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and is expected to churn out total shipments of between 70-80 million of these by the end of the year.

Citing sources close to production, the new report notes that the 12.9-inch iPad CPU — codenamed the A8X chip — is being manufactured using the same 20-nanometer process currently employed for the iPhone 6 devices. However the A8X’s bigger SoC (system-on-a-chip) may cause problems for TSMC when it comes to yield rate.

Apple first created “X” variants of its processors for the A5 and A6 generation used to power previous iPads — although an A7X processor was never launched for last year’s iPad Air, since Apple opted to instead use the same A7 chip as for the iPhone 5s and iPad mini.

That may change this year, as recent leaks have suggested that the A8X chip could debut as early as tomorrow, with the expected unveiling of the iPad Air 2.

According to China’s Economic Daily News, TSMC is also working on Apple’s A9 processor, to be used in the next generation iPhones and iPads announced in late 2015. High volume production of the 16nm A9 processor is expected to begin early next year.