A14 chipmaker earnings hint at monster success for the iPhone 12

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iPhone 12 Pro parts cost shockingly little
Signs look good that the iPhone 12 has been a big hit for Apple.
Photo: Cult of Mac

We won’t definitively know how well the iPhone 12 is doing until Apple’s next earnings call January 27. But the signs are certainly looking good.

On Thursday, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the company that makes Apple’s A-series chips, reported better-than-expected earnings for the December quarter. This was apparently helped by “robust” demand for the iPhone 12.

Bloomberg noted that:

“Net income in the quarter ended December climbed 23% to NT$142.8 billion ($5.1 billion), compared with the NT$137.2 billion average of analyst estimates, the chipmaker said Thursday. That contributed to a 50% increase in full-year profit, the speediest rate of expansion since 2010. Sales in the December quarter climbed 14% to a record NT$361.5 billion, according to previously disclosed monthly numbers, helped in part by robust demand for Apple’s new 5G iPhones.”

Life is good for the iPhone 12

The report noted that the calendar Q4 results show increased contributions from TSMC’s 5-nanometer process technology. That’s the process used to make Apple’s A14 chips, suggesting more reliance on Apple. The 5-nanometer chips made up 20% of TSMC’s total revenue during the quarter. TSMC is already hard at work on the manufacturing facilities needed to make future 3-nanometer chips. It reportedly plans to start production during the second half of 2022, likely for the iPhones due to arrive that year.

This isn’t the only data point we’ve heard to suggest that the iPhone 12 series is a big hit for Apple. Research firm Flurry Analytics has said the iPhone 12 enjoyed a stronger launch than any iPhone in the past three years. The iPhone also supposedly made up nine of the top 10 handsets activated on Christmas Day in the U.S.

It’s worth waiting for Apple’s confirmation as to numbers, of course. (Or, at least, as far as Apple gives them these days — since it no longer shares exact unit sales.) Nonetheless, signs are looking good that the iPhone 12 has been a monster hit for Apple.