Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will begin volume production of 5nm chips in the first half of 2020, according to the company’s chief financial officer.
The Taiwanese foundry manufactures all Apple’s processors. TSMC’s move to 5nm comes right on time to employ this cutting-edge process in the A14 CPUs for next year’s iPhone and iPad models.
Ho didn’t specifically say Apple committed to use this new tech. However, the two companies have worked together since the earliest days of the iPhone. TSMC supplies Apple with better chips every single year.
This would seem to indicate the 2020 iPhone will offer a really significant CPU speed increase over current models. It is also expected to be the first iOS handset with 5G, bringing another type of speed improvement.
Why 5mn proves better than 7nm
Much of TSMC’s research and development budget goes into shrinking the distance between processor components. Packing these into less space means faster performance and less wasted heat, saving power.
The Apple A12 Bionic chip used in the 2018 iPhone XS, XS Max and XR was the first in this series with just 7nm between components.
This year’s upcoming A13 chip, reportedly using an improved version of the 7nm process, is in production and headed for the iPhone 11. This chip should bring significant improvements to multi-core and graphics performance, according to a recent leak.