Cult of Mac

Apple chip supplier invests $25 billion to help develop next-gen processors

Future Macs won't run on silicon chips. Photo: Intel

Apple supplier TSMC will reportedly invest a massive $25 billion in 5 nanometer node technology in its quest to fabricate next-generation chips which could help power iOS devices.

No timeframe was announced for the investment. Since the company is supposedly currently fabricating 7nm chips for the 2018 iPhone, this will hopefully help TSMC hold onto its status as Apple’s A-series chipmaker for at least a while longer.

TSMC has been the exclusive producer of Apple’s A-series chips since the A9-series days. However, it is constantly having to stay on top of its game as the result of competition from Samsung.

The squabble to win orders between the two companies has resulted in plenty of drama — even including a lawsuit when a former TSMC employee was charged with leaking trade secrets to Samsung. In the past, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has gotten involved to lobby on behalf of TSMC, prompted by fears that Samsung will take over more and more of the work involved in producing iPhone components.

As ever, working for Apple as a supplier is no easy ride. While there is always competition from other companies, Apple is constantly on the lookout for ways to cut costs — which often means paying suppliers less. Recently, for instance, Apple stopped suppliers negotiating their own deals for third party components like screws — thereby stopping them being able to carve out a few extra bucks of profit.

Nonetheless, when you’re dealing with the kind of massive orders Apple can hand out, it’s no surprise that the likes of TSMC are so keen to hold on to Apple’s business!

Source: Reuters

Update: A previous version of this story suggested Apple had directly invested the money, rather than TSMC. I have updated the story to clarify this.