Apple’s already doling out contracts for next year’s A11 chip


Apple chips are getting EMI shielding.
Apple's next-next gen processor is already underway.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone 7 is still around eight weeks from hitting shelves, but Apple and its suppliers are already looking ahead to next year’s iPhone refresh — according to a new report claiming that Apple has placed its orders for the next-next-gen A11 chips.

And in a break from its recent strategy, it’s apparently placed them all with one supplier. And sorry Samsung, but it isn’t you!

The exclusive supplier of Apple’s A11 chips will instead reportedly be Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the same company that is said to be supplying the A10 chip for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7s.

“The Taiwan-based foundry will continue to be the sole supplier of Apple’s next-generation A11 processor that will be built on a 10nm FinFET process,” a report from China’s Economic Daily Times notes — although it doesn’t cite any sources for the news.

TSMC will reportedly begin small-volume production for the A11 chips in the second quarter of 2017. At a recent investors meeting, co-CEO Mark Liu said he expects revenues for TSMC’s 10nm process to “ramp steeply throughout 2017,” which is certainly what you’d expect based on Apple’s most profitable quarters coming after its traditional September iPhone launches.

Provided that this report is true, TSMC’s securing of another year’s Apple chips is great news for the Taiwanese company — which has previously been neck-and-neck with rival Samsung when it comes to winning Apple orders. In the past this squabble has ever led to a lawsuit, as a former TSMC employee was charged with leaking trade secrets to Samsung to allegedly give the latter a competitive edge.

Next year’s iPhone refresh is reported to be the biggest since 2014’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — and is said to be so big that Apple is considering ditching the logical “iPhone 7s” name to jump straight to the iPhone 8. In other words, winning those orders are quite the feather in TSMC’s cap.

Via: Digitimes


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