New deal means fully American-made Apple silicon chips


TSMC chip wafer
Chip wafers can't simply be plugged into a computer. They must be packaged first.
Photo: TSMC

Apple silicon processors that TSMC makes at its Arizona plant will be packaged by Amkor at a nearby facility. This will save them from having to be shipped to Taiwan before going into iPhone, Mac, etc.

“Apple is deeply committed to the future of American manufacturing, and we’ll continue to expand our investment here in the United States,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “Apple silicon has unlocked new levels of performance for our users, enabling them to do things they could never do before, and we are thrilled that Apple silicon will soon be produced and packaged in Arizona.”

Apple turns to Amkor to package Mac and iPhone chips made by TSMC in Arizona

Apple designs the A-series and M-series processors that go into iPhone, iPad and Mac, but the chips are produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Currently, that happens in Taiwan, but tax credits in President Joe Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act helped persuade the company to expand processor production to the United States. That’s going to happen in a fab now being built in Arizona.

But there’s another step required. The semiconductor needs to be packaged… for its protection if nothing else. TSMC doesn’t have a packing plant in the U.S., raising the possibility that any Apple chips made in Arizona would have to go to Taiwan before they could be used.

This drew criticism of the plan to make the chips in America. The TSMC fab won’t reduce U.S. dependence on Taiwan for chip production if the processors have be packaged in Taiwan.

But Apple’s announcement on Thursday of an expanded partnership with Amkor will make a trip across the Pacific unnecessary. Amkor is building a facility in Peoria, Arizona. This will package Apple silicon produced at the nearby TSMC fab.

TSMC’s initial U.S. plant is scheduled to begin pilot production in 2024 making 4nm processors. A second plant will open in 2026 and make 3nm chips. Apple processors are currently made with a 3nm process.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.