Apple is not even close to releasing the iPhone 6S, but chipmakers are already scrambling to secure orders for the iPhone 7, which is expected to arrive in late 2016. According to the Electronic Daily News, Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg Co. Ltd (TSMC) will open a 10nm pilot line next month in 12 of its factories in Hsinchu. The project could be further expanded as TSMC tries to impress Apple to win A10 orders for the iPhone 7 next year.
TSMC has learned its lesson
Samsung and TSMC will be supplying the A9 chipset for iPhone 6S. The Korean company has reportedly won the order to supply 70% of A9 produced using its 14nm FinFET technology. TSMC will be responsible for only 30% processors that will be built on its 16nm process. Earlier, there were rumors that Samsung had won the 100% order after TSMC failed to produce 14nm chips. Then Foxconn chairman Terry Gou used his influence to get TSMC a small piece of the order.
TSMC seems to have learned its lesson and now it doesn’t want to take risks with the A10 orders. So, the company is already looking forward to producing 10nm and 7nm chips that will be far more efficient than its 16nm processors. Sources told the Electronic Daily News that TSMC wants to be the sole supplier of A10 chips for iPhone 7.
Samsung to give TSMC a tough fight for iPhone 7 chips
However, Apple is unlikely to be the only client of TSMC for its 10nm processors. The publication says that the Taiwanese company will start signing up clients for its 10nm chipset by the end of 2015. The company said last month that it would start producing 10nm chips in 2016, followed by 7nm processors in 2017. If TSMC’s pilot line is successful and it manages to set up factories in time, it could end up winning 100% of A10 orders. It has also started a semiconductor intellectual property program.
But Samsung is unlikely to sit idle and watch TSMC walk away with all the orders. The Korean company has renewed its focus on chip manufacturing. Now that the animosity between Apple and Samsung has cooled, the Korean giant will be vying for more orders from Apple. Samsung is expected to give a tough fight when it comes to the all-important iPhone 7 processors.