Apple places risky bet on sole iPhone chip provider

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Apple A12 replaces A11 Bionic
TSMC beat out Samsung and Intel to make Apple's A11 Bionic processor, and will apparently be the sole producer of its replacements.
Photo: iFixit

TSMC has produced every iPhone processor for several years, and is reportedly going to continue to be Apple’s sole source for chips.

Apple generally prefers to get components from multiple sources, but apparently no company — not even Samsung or Intel — can compete with TSMC. That makes the two companies very dependent on each other.

iPhone 8’s powerful new A11 chip is pictured for the first time

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TSMC A11 chip
This is the chip that will power Apple's next-gen iPhone.
Photo: Slashleaks

As we get closer to the iPhone 8’s launch, more and more alleged components are starting to show up online. The latest is what is reported to be the A11 chip which will power the next-gen device.

Made by TSMC, previous reports have stated that the new chip is manufactured using a 10-nanometer manufacturing process, which should make it faster and more efficient than the 16-nanometer A10 Fusion used in the iPhone 7. It should also be faster than the A10X Fusion chip used in the latest iPad Pros.

Work on next year’s iPhone chips is already underway

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Apple chips are getting EMI shielding.
TSMC is building Apple's next-gen iPhone chips.
Photo: Apple

From the sound of things, Apple is focusing a lot of attention on next year’s iPhone launch as the biggest handset refresh since 2014’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Alongside OLED displays, wireless charging, an all-glass enclosure and a lack of physical home button, the iPhone 7s (or possibly iPhone 8 if certain rumors are to be believed) will also include a next-next-gen A11 chip. And Apple’s already working on it.