Apple’s A-series chipmaker in talks to build a chip factory in the U.S.

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Apple chipmaker racing ahead with its next next-gen nanometer process
Could TSMC eventually build A-series chips in America?
Screenshot: Apple

Could Apple’s A-series chips eventually be manufactured in the United States? That’s one possible outcome if the Trump administration gets its way.

According to a report published Sunday by the Wall Street Journal, the White House wants to “jump-start” the development of new chip factories in the U.S. to help reduce reliance on Asia for critical technology. And it’s in talks with current A-series chipmaker TSMC and others to do so.

The report notes that:

“Trump administration officials are in talks with Intel Corp., the largest American chip maker, and with TSMC, to build factories in the U.S., according to correspondence viewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the discussions.”

TSMC has long made Apple’s A-series chips for the iPhone and iPad. Currently it is making 5-nanometer chips for Apple’s iPhone 12 for this fall. With an eye to the future, it is also working on next-generation 3-nanometer and even 2-nanometer processes.

According to the WSJ, TSMC has been talking to both Apple and the Commerce and Defense departments in the U.S. about building a chip factory in the U.S. The company said in a statement that it is “actively evaluating all the suitable locations, including in the U.S., but there is no concrete plan yet.”

Government is speaking to other chip companies too

Meanwhile, Intel’s VP of policy and technical affairs told the WSJ that the company is “very serious” about chip fabrication in the U.S. VP Greg Slater described it as a good opportunity. “The timing is better and the demand for this is greater than it has been in the past, even from the commercial side,” he said.

Intel has made chips for the Mac since Apple switched from PowerPC processors in 2005. The new 2020 MacBook Air features special Intel chips that were created especially for Apple. However, there are also rumors that Apple plans to move on from Intel and make its own chips in the near future.

The WSJ also said that U.S. officials are interested in working with Samsung to expand its chipmaking in the U.S. Samsung currently operates a chip factory in Austin, Texas. The goal would be to help it manufacture more advanced chips.

Embracing manufacturing in the U.S.

Tim Cook has said that making the iPhone in America is “not on the horizon” for Apple. But Apple has previously asked its suppliers to explore manufacturing opportunities outside China. It has also set up its $5 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund to support manufacturing in the U.S.