Apple’s M1 and A-series chipmaker prioritizes Cupertino over other customers

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Apple A15 concept
That should make it more likely that iPhone 13 ships on time.
Concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

There’s a global semiconductor shortage, but Apple’s got a leg up on some of its rivals. According to a Tuesday report from Digitimes, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest chip fab, says it will prioritize Apple orders.

TSMC builds the A-series chips for iPhones, as well as the M1 chip for Macs and the latest iPad Pro. The company is currently working on the new A15 chips for this year’s iPhone refresh. Beyond that, it’s gearing up to produce next year’s A-series chips, which will be made with either a 4-nanometer or 3-nanometer process.

Apple’s apparently not the only company to get priority status from TSMC, though.

“TSMC will give supply priorities to orders for automotive ICs and those placed by Apple in the third quarter of 2021, followed by chip orders for PCs, servers and networking devices, according to sources at fabless chipmakers,” according to Digitimes.

It’s not too surprising to hear that Apple would be among the favored few. TSMC has long worked with Apple to produce cutting-edge chips. And the chip-making giant plans to spend $100 billion in the next three years boosting its capabilities even further. This would set up TSMC to invest between $400 billion and $500 billion in chips over the next decade.

To pull in the maximum revenue to make this investment possible, TSMC needs reliable partners. Apple — which accounts for approximately one-quarter of TSMC revenue each year — is a reliable customer that orders in bulk. That buys you some pretty nice perks during a component shortage.

From a customer perspective, this suggests that the iPhone 13 will arrive on time. Last year, COVID-19-related production challenges meant the iPhone shipped late. This year it sounds like it’s on course to arrive in its usual September time slot. That’s good news for Apple. If it means abundant supply while other rivals are experiencing component shortages, it could even be great news.

Source: Digitimes