Upgrades might make next-gen iPad Air more ‘Pro’

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iPad Air 4 comes in a range of colors.
The iPad Air 5 could look quite a bit like its predecessor while also getting upgraded features.
Screenshot: Apple

The difference between the current 10.9-inch iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro is relatively slim. And now it seems more of the features of the Pro tablet are moving to the Air. Apple is reportedly going to build on the powerful 2020 model with an iPad Air 5 that offers a dual-lens camera and optional 5G. Plus, the tablet is getting a processor upgrade.

These changes would make it a stronger mid-range tablet in Apple’s product lineup.

TSMC is already looking beyond A15 chips to make even smaller, faster processors

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Apple A15 concept
Apple chip manufacturer is looking to the future.
Concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is already looking beyond the A15 chip that will come with this year’s iPhone 13. According to a Friday report, the world’s biggest chip fab is “fast advancing” its 4-nanometer and 3-nanometer processes ready for mass manufacturing.

Digitimes reports that TSMC’s 4-nanometer process will move into risk production in the third quarter of 2021. Risk production is a smaller production run of new hardware to sort out any problems. If there are none, TSMC  can then progress to volume production. The same report also claims that TSMC’s 3nm production process will commence volume production in the second half of 2022.

TSMC begins production on Apple’s next-gen A15 chip for iPhone 13

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Apple A15 concept
How do you follow up a monster like the A14 chip? With the A15, of course!
Concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor maker, has reportedly commenced production on the next-gen A15 chip for the iPhone 13.

It seems that Apple’s expecting to have a big hit on its hands, too. Digitimes reported Wednesday that “demand for the chip surpass that for its predecessor last year in scale, according to industry sources.”

A15 chip production for iPhone 13 is almost underway

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Apple A14 is made with an amazing 5nm production process.
A14 chip? Pffft... it's all about the A15 chip these days.
Screenshot: Apple

Production on Apple’s next-gen A15 chips will reportedly start up in May, using the same 5-nanometer fabrication size as last year’s A14 chip. However, this year’s A-series chip refresh will boast an “enhanced” manufacturing process that should result in superior performance next to the A14 processor.

This is approximately what you would expect to see in terms of both the schedule and nanometer jump between iPhone models. Apple typically is underway with production by around May, ready for the September iPhone launch. There is also usually an upgrade (or, in terms of minimum feature size, downgrade) in nanometers every couple of years.