Apple chipmaker suffers gas contamination on iPhone and Mac production lines

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Apple Silicon
TSMC makes Apple Silicon chips for Apple.
Photo: Apple

Apple chipmaker TSMC, which makes both Apple’s A-series and Apple Silicon chips, says that its production lines have been hit by a gas leak. This has affected some of its chip production — including the advanced chip fab used for upcoming iPhones and Macs.

“To ensure that there will be no issues with production quality, TSMC is currently carrying out stringent follow-up operations,” TSMC said. It told Reuters that it doesn’t expect this to he a “significant impact” on operations.

2022 iPad Pro could pack next-gen 3nm chip for even greater performance

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iPad-Pro-Magic-Trackpad-3
Coming in late 2022?
Photo: Apple

The 2022 iPad Pro could ship with a next-generation chipset manufactured using a cutting-edge 3-nanometer process, according to a new report out of Asia, citing several sources familiar with the matter.

The upgrade would lead to even greater performance for what is already one of Apple’s fastest mobile devices. But we may have to wait longer for the same technology to make its way to iPhone.

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.

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.”

Apple’s chipmaker could build up to 6 factories in Arizona

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TSMC 7nm processor
Plans have gotten more ambitious it seems.
Photo: TSMC

Apple M- and A-series chipmaker TSMC is reportedly planning to build more than just the one chipmaking factory currently announced for the United States.

According to Reuters, the company — which is the world’s leading edge semiconductor manufacturer — plans to build “several more” in the state of Arizona. TSMC’s original intentions to build a $12 billion chip factory in AZ were announced in May 2020.

Apple chipmaker warns that supplies may be constrained into 2022

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chips
There's a big global chip shortage right now.
Photo: Intel

Apple’s A-series chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) has warned that constrained chip supply will continue for the rest of this year and into 2022.

While it didn’t specifically mention Apple, it nonetheless admitted that capacity will remain “tight” for the immediate future. TSMC is currently gearing up to manufacture the A-series chips for Apple’s next-gen iPhone, set to debut in the fall. This will reportedly begin in May.

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.

Micro OLED displays might make Apple’s AR glasses super-thin and light

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Taeyeon Kim
Coming soon to a face near you?
Photo: Taeyeon Kim

Apple and A-series chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. teamed up to develop “ultra-advanced display technology” at a special facility in Taiwan, a Wednesday report claims.

The Micro OLED displays measure less than 1 inch in size, according to Nikkei Asia. Apple potentially could use the displays for its long-rumored augmented reality glasses.  However, it seems likely it will take “several years” to bring the hardware to market.

A16 Bionic: TSMC gears up to produce first 3nm chips for future iPhone

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Apple A14 is made with an amazing 5nm production process.
Ready to see the A14 look like old hat?
Screenshot: Apple

Apple’s A14 chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is gearing up for “risk production” of its next-gen chips, Digitimes reported Friday.

The chips in question are TSMC’s 3-nanometer chips, expected to be the eventual successor to the current 5-nanometer chips. Risk production refers to the dress rehearsal process for manufacturing, in which things appear ready to go, but are not quite ready to go into mass production just yet.