TSMC Plans to Double 16nm Chip Production in Preparation for iPhone 7

by

According to a new report from Economic Daily News (via DigiTimes), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has plans to double the output capacity of its 16nm chip production from 40,000 12-inch wafers in February to 80,000 in March. The news corroborates previous reports that suggested TSMC was ready to expand its 16nm FinFET production capacity in the second quarter of 2016, solely for the iPhone 7.

iphone_7_render_mr
In a recent investors meeting, TSMC's co-CEO CC Wei said that the company's percentage share of the 14/16nm market is expected to increase from 40 percent in 2015 to over 70 percent in 2016. Apple isn't specifically referenced in the report today, but among TSMC's other purported 16nm customers -- Xilinx, MediaTek, HiSilicon, Spreadtrum and Nvidia -- it is one of the bigger names.

The upcoming ramp-up of 16nm production capacity will buoy TSMC's sales performance starting March, the report quoted market watchers as indicating. The foundry's 16nm FinFET processes consisting of 16FF (16nm FinFET), 16FF+ (16nm FinFET Plus) and 16FFC (16nm FinFET Compact) will generate more than 20% of its total wafer revenues in 2016.

Previous rumors around the iPhone 7 production have pointed to Apple picking TSMC to be the sole manufacturer of the smartphone's processor, presumably called the A10. The foundry was said to have won over Apple because of its 10nm manufacturing process, and a likely attempt at avoiding the dual-sourced A9 chip blowback Apple saw in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Tag: TSMC

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
58 months ago

The rumor in this article states that the A10 will stay at 16nm like the A9. The improvement due to "3D Transistor stacking" or whatever will be very minimal.

http://wccftech.com/iphone-7-tsmc/

20% expected.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago

Bit confused, so it's going to be 16nm or 10nm chip?

16nm, 10nm won't be ready for Fall devices.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago
I'm thinking this years iPhone is just a better 6, rather than a full fledged completely new device.

We have read that the dual camera is still a year away. That the 10nm chip is still a year away. That the new oled displays are still at least a year away. That the iPhone will be the exact same dimensions minus one mm in thickness due to an improved thinner display..
Also note that new 4" iPhone will be in a old case. I would imagine they would have crafted a completely new one unless it wasn't just a kind of placeholder until the next complete iPhone iteration.

I think Apple is working to to get all those things into the iPhone but they are just not quite ready.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago
This is good news if it takes care of ChipGate.

Let's hope a TSMC chip is guaranteed in all iPhones so as to ensure better battery life.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago

http://wccftech.com/iphone-7-tsmc/

20% expected.

Oooooh. Neat stuff.

Yeah, a 20% speed jump is what I'd consider minimal. The A9 was nearly twice as fast as the A8 and at least twice as fast as the A7.

The A8 was like up to 30% faster than the A7 I believe.
[doublepost=1456938442][/doublepost]

I'm thinking this years iPhone is just a better 6, rather than a full fledged completely new device.

We have read that the dual camera is still a year away. That the 10nm chip is still a year away. That the new oled displays are still at least a year away. That the iPhone will be the exact same dimensions minus one mm in thickness due to an improved thinner display..

I think Apple is working to to get all those things into the iPhone but they are just not quite ready.

More like they can't because profit margins.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago

http://wccftech.com/iphone-7-tsmc/

20% expected.

That's wccftech just repeating the assessment made from Bernstein ('http://blogs.barrons.com/asiastocks/2015/10/22/tsmc-apple-will-pioneer-info-to-build-thinner-phones-bernstein-raises-target/'). Here's the relevant bit:

Compared with the Flip Chip-PoP (Package-on-Package, or simply FC-POP) technology employed currently, InFO removes substrate from package and hence can reduce the thickness of mobile SoC from 1mm to 0.8mm or lower. The shorter distance between logic die and printed circuit board also enables faster thermal dissipation, higher maximal allowable power consumption and possibly 20% better performance (but with power penalty).

In fact, TSMC’s InFO is just one of many variants of fan-out wafer-level package (FOWLP) which has been tried by many but with limited success thus far. With a satisfactory packaging yield, we estimate InFO (or FOWLP in general) will incur just 5-10% higher cost over the flip chip package. However, low packaging yield results in high cost from die loss, which has kept the technology from mass adoption so far. Though there are still execution risks from now to 3Q16, apparently TSMC is making progress and likely can overcome the yield challenge. This is further supported by the recent announcement of Ultratech (an equipment vendor) which we believe just received a major order for TSMC’s InFO capacity build-up.

What that means is higher performance in the same thermal envelope. That means Apple would have to be willing for the SoC to consume more power, which means less battery life or a bigger battery.

Also, if the A9 was indeed of TSMC's 16FF, then the move to 16FF+ would have a few small performance benefits on its own, similar to Samsung's own 14LPP ('http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/foundry/process-technology/14nm/') (10%).

This post ('https://www.macrumors.com/2015/11/06/tsmc-a10-production-info-wlp/') goes into InFO in more detail.

edit: one last note- they talk about removing the substrate. That would be the substrate above the die between the memory and application processor. You still need the interface between the die and board, which is a substrate. With InFO WLP, you just route all your dies on that one piece. To have no substrate would be chip-on-board, which isn't possible because board vendors can't make boards with the extremely fine pitches that logic die bumps have. That's why vendors are starting to introduce actual passive silicon wafers (interposers) into the process to get really dense routing to greater I/O to memory and other devices.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

2020 iMac Benchmarks Surface Online [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 7:16 am PDT by
Benchmarks from the new 2020 iMac have today been shared online by Mac Otakara. The Geekbench benchmarks are from the newly-released 27-inch iMac with 3.0GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Radeon Pro 5300 graphics, compared to multiple specs of the previous 2019 iMac. The lowest spec 27-inch i5 iMac from 2020 performs about 20 percent better in multicore than the lowest spec 27-inch i5...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...

Microsoft's xCloud and Xbox Game Pass Not Coming to iOS Due to Apple's Restrictions [Updated]

Thursday August 6, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Microsoft's "Project xCloud" streaming game service that pairs with its Xbox Game Pass won't be available on iPhone and iPad when it launches this September, and Apple's App Store restrictions are to blame. Xbox Game Pass and its accompanying xCloud streaming feature offer access to hundreds of games that can be streamed to mobile devices, and Apple says that because it can't review each...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...