Apple chipmaker may start volume production of 5nm chips in March

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Apple chipmaker scores record third quarter revenues
Could next year's iPhone chip be made using a cutting-edge 5-nanometer process?
Photo: Apple

The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro is just making its way into customers’ hands. But work is already underway for next year’s handset refresh.

According to a new report, Apple chipmaker TSMC is gearing up to carry out volume production of its next-gen chips as early as March. And they could offer a major boost over this year’s A13 Bionic chips!

The paywalled report from Digitimes said that these chips will be made using TSMC’s 5 nanometer process.

While it doesn’t explicitly name Apple as a client, that would make a lot of sense. Depending on how you measure it, 2018’s A12 Bionic chip was either the first or second phone in the world to pack mobile chips made using the 7-nanometer process. Although Huawei showed off its 7nm Kirin 980 first, Apple shipped its 7nm iPhones before Huawei. In Fast Company‘s recent rundown of innovative companies, the A12 chip was singled out as being Apple’s biggest feat of 2018.

It’s highly likely that Apple would also want to be the first computer to offer 5nm chips.

Apple jumped to the A13 Bionic chip with this year’s iPhones, although these still relied on the 7nm process. Decreasing the number of nanometers in chip design means being able to pack more transistors onto a chip by reducing the size between each one. A decrease in the number of nanometers on a chip should therefore lead to a noticeable increase in performance.

2020’s iPhone refresh is already shaping up to be a big upgrade for Apple. Along with 5nm A-series processor, it should also be the first 5G iPhone. That’s going to be a big leap in terms of what you can do with your device. Apple debuted 4G connectivity on the iPhone way back in 2012 with the iPhone 5.