A report said a few days ago that poor yields for 10nm chips might impact the launch of several high-profile smartphones next year, including next-gen iPads and iPhones. TSMC was one of the companies that was supposedly experiencing difficulties with 10nm chip production. But the company has now refuted the claim, suggesting that everything is moving forward on schedule.
That’s certainly great news for next year’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 7s, which will supposedly pack A11 chips produced on TSMC’s 10nm process. The next iPad should also feature a 10nm chip. Neither Apple nor TSMC confirmed that 2017 iOS devices will feature TSMC silicon, though it’s widely believed that TSMC has been awarded contracts for iPad and iPhone models in 2017.
According to EETimes, TSMC said that its 10nm process is “totally on track” and will contribute to sales revenue in the first quarter of 2017. The update comes directly from TSMC’s Corporate Communications senior director, Elizabeth Sun.
Digitimes’ report last week said that it’s not just TSMC that has running into yield problems with 10nm chips. Samsung, which is also making 10nm chips for Qualcomm and for itself, was said to be experiencing similar issues.
EETimes notes that TSMC is also busy developing mobile chips for the future, including 7nm, 5nm, and 3nm technology. The company says it’ll start on 7nm chips in 2017, and then 5nm chips in 2019, to support smartphones and high-end mobile products that could offer support for VR and AR features. Chips built on 3nm process should be manufactured beginning in 2021.
TSMC will not be the only company pushing the envelope when it comes to mobile chips. Intel and Samsung are also looking beyond 10nm chips. According to EETimes, all three of the companies are using three-dimensional tweaks to take geometries down as far as 1nm in the future.
However, we’re currently more interested in 10nm chips than anything else, and whether TSMC and Samsung can deliver them in large enough quantities to equip all of next year’s iOS and Android flagships.