No delays here: iPhone 12 chipmaker on track for A-series chip production

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Apple chipmaker racing ahead with its next next-gen nanometer process
Apple chipmaker racing ahead with its next next-gen nanometer process
Screenshot: Apple

Apple chipmaker TSMC is reportedly on track to move forward with volume production of its next-gen 5-nanometer chips. This most likely refers to Apple’s next A-series chips for the iPhone 12 series of handsets.

According to a report published Wednesday, this production process is currently on as scheduled. This counters recent speculation that Apple had asked TSMC to defer manufacturing for the new iPhone.

A report published last week suggested that Apple has held internal discussions on whether to delay the launch of the 5G iPhone by several months. As with every iPhone in recent years, the iPhone 12 was expected to be released this fall. However, the report claimed that, due to fears about the economic conditions under which a new iPhone might launch, Apple is reportedly considering pushing this back.

Since then, several reports have pushed back at this. In a recent note to clients, analyst Gene Munster said that he expects Apple to be able to deliver its first 5G iPhone as planned. Printed circuit board suppliers in Apple’s supply chain have also dismissed rumors that they’ve been asked to delay volume production of the new iPhone.

TSMC: Bringing 5-nanometer tech to A-series chips

TSMC’s new A-series chip for the iPhone 12 is widely expected to take advantage of the new 5-nanometer process. The previous jump in terms of nanometers was Apple’s A12 Bionic chip in 2018, made using the 7-nanometer process. The iPhone was either the first or second phone in the world to include these chips. Although Huawei showed off its 7nm Kirin 980 first, Apple shipped its 7nm iPhones before Huawei. A recent report suggested the forthcoming A-series processor will be the first Arm-based mobile processor to exceed 3GHz.

Today’s Digitimes report isn’t the first time we’ve heard that TSMC manufacturing is on track. A report published by Digitimes in March said the company was preparing to “kick off” volume production of chips built using 5nm process technology in April. Although it didn’t name Apple as TSMC’s client, it said that process capacity has already been “fully booked” up.

Of course, if you can’t wait until September, there’s some good iPhone news on the horizon: A recent report suggests that the iPhone SE 2/iPhone could launch on April 15.