Apple’s much-hyped smartphone with radical design changes, likely to be called iPhone 8, is still more than a year away. However, Apple has already started signing deals with component suppliers. TSMC has once again trumped Samsung to become the sole supplier of chips for the iPhone 8. The Taiwanese company is also the sole supplier of A10 chips to be used in the iPhone 7.
A11 processor to be based on 10nm FinFET process
Citing the Economic Daily News, DigiTimes reports that TSMC has secured exclusive orders for the A11 processor that will power the next year’s iPhone 8. Last year, the supply of A9 chips for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus was split between TSMC and Samsung. It triggered a controversy when benchmark tests showed that devices running TSMC chips offered a better battery life than those powered by Samsung chip. The controversy may have tilted Apple’s decision in favor of TSMC.
The report adds that TSMC will manufacture the A11 processor using 10nm FinFET process. We reported in May that the Taiwanese company had finalized the initial design of the A11 processor. TSMC co-CEO Mark Liu recently said at an investors meeting that the 10nm products have already been produced with “satisfactory yield.” Besides Apple, MediaTek, Xilinx, and HiSilicon are also expected to use the company’s 10nm process technology.
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Expect iPhone 8 to offer something special
TSMC could start small volume production of the A11 chips by the second quarter of 2017. The company has taped out the design for the processor. Further tweaks could be made in the actual chips after the test production begins. Liu told investors that the A11 production will start generating revenue for the company in the first quarter of 2017, and then “ramp steeply” throughout the year.
Apple is planning a huge iPhone redesign to mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone in 2017. The iPhone 8 is rumored to have an all-glass design with the home button and other sensors embedded in the display. It is also said to include long-distance wireless charging.