Apple and TSMC Reportedly Completing Designs for 20-nm A7 Chip With Early 2014 Availability

tsmcDigitimes reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will "tape out" the design for an A7 system-on-a-chip built on a 20-nanometer process this month. Taping out refers to the initial design of the chip having been completed for creation of the masks that will be used to print the actual chips, although further tweaks are likely as test production is carried out.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is expected to tape out Apple's A7 processor on a 20nm process in March and then move the chip into risk production in May-June, which will pave the way for commercial shipments in the first quarter of 2014, according to industry sources.

The report claims that TSMC will be using its "14-fab" facility at the Tainan Science Park in Taiwan to build the chips.

We talked with Silicon-IP founder and former TSMC director Kurt Wolf about the report, and he notes that TSMC did achieve certification on its 20-nm process in December, although a significant amount of work remains before production-worthy chips will be ready.

With Apple undoubtedly preparing to launch new iPhone and iPad models this year before the rumored 20-nm A7 is ready in early 2014, Wolf points out that Apple has a number of options for this year's lineup. Those options include smaller and more efficient versions of the existing A6 family based on a 28-nm process rather than the current 32-nm process, a more substantially modified A6 to boost power, or a new A7 chip built on the 28-nm process before being moved to 20-nm next year. Wolf believes that Apple will be using both Samsung and TSMC to build its 2013 chips.

A report from last October had claimed that Apple and TSMC would be working together on 20-nm chips for 2014, and today's report seems to be in line with those claims. Earlier this week, we discovered a smaller version of the A5 chip inside the tweaked Apple TV and initially thought that it might be built on a smaller process node or come from TSMC, but further examination revealed that it is still a 32-nm chip from Samsung. It has, however, undergone a substantial redesign in order to achieve a nearly 50% reduction in size.

Top Rated Comments

nick_elt Avatar
106 months ago
when will they update their logo?????
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
106 months ago
remind me not to hire you in management of my company. How others perceive you is important in any business.
And a logo is not a legitimate impression vehicle in a supplier based business.

I would remind my management to fire anyone who dismisses a company as a supplier because they don't like their logo.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
106 months ago
when will they update their logo?????

Glad we're focusing on the important stuff.

Why should a company with no consumer sales care how well their logo is received?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SockRolid Avatar
106 months ago
Interesting. The smaller process could enable all the obvious benefits: lower power consumption, more clock-rate headroom, lower cost because more chips can be cut out of a single silicon wafer, and all that good stuff.

But maybe the biggest benefit is quad CPU cores on the A7. Just a thought.

----------

[blah] ... [blah] ... Anyone who says updating this year makes no sense is an iPhone 5 owner who doesn't give a s*** about iPhone 4S owners months away from paying for essentially the same phone they just bought (if it still has the A6).

How about a 28-nm dual-core A7 in the iPhone 5S this year?
And a 20-nm quad-core A7 in the iPhone 6 next year?

Not good enough? Well have you tried switching to decaf?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menneisyys2 Avatar
106 months ago
Not surprising.

A6 is incredibly powerful for a handset, and nothing even comes close to taxing it.

Well, 1080p h.264 decoding. And Hi10p decoding, even at 720p.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
machpost Avatar
106 months ago
when will they update their logo?????

I was wondering the same thing. 1982 called, and they want their logo back.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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