TSMC Reportedly Completing Designs for 10-nm A11 Chip With Early 2017 Availability

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tsmc_logo_newTaiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has begun to "tape out" the design for Apple's A11 processor built on a 10nm FinFET process, according to industry sources (via DigiTimes). 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.

Following the final result of the design cycle for the A11, TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm manufacturing process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to Apple for validation in the first quarter of 2017. TSMC is expected to obtain about two-thirds of its overall A11 chip orders directly from Cupertino.

The same sources indicate that TSMC could begin small-volume production for Apple's A11 chips as early as the second quarter of 2017, which would generate revenue for the company in the following quarter.

Apple currently operates a two-year upgrade cycle for its smartphones. All things remaining the same, that would mean the A11 would be headed for the "iPhone 7s", the likely successor to the next-generation iPhone 7 which is slated to launch this fall. However, last month Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz speculated Apple will skip its traditional "S" upgrade cycle next year altogether.

Citing industry sources, Moskowitz said the Cupertino company won't debut a spec-bumped, internally upgraded "iPhone 7s" in 2017, but a completely overhauled "iPhone 8" with "major design changes" and new, next-generation features like wireless charging. Either way, the A11-powered iPhone models would therefore be expected to launch in the second half of 2017.

In February, TSMC reached a deal with Apple to be the sole manufacturer for the A10, which is expected to be the processor included in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The deal was thought to have been motivated by TSMC's advanced device packaging techniques capable of higher-width memory buses and lower-power operation, which for consumers means better performance and efficiency.

Tags: TSMC, A11 chip

Top Rated Comments

8692574 Avatar
60 months ago

When Phil Schiller went on stage and said "I'd like to introduce the iPhone 5, the 6th iPhone" I knew Apple couldn't count lol.

1) iPhone 2g
2) iPhone 3g
3) iPhone 3gs
4) iPhone 4
5) iPhone 4s
6) iPhone 5

Did i miss something?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Markiie Avatar
60 months ago
That 10 year anniversary iPhone (iPhone 7) that gets launched next June is surely going to be something else....


Don't know why everyone is still hung up that this September phone is going to be called the iPhone 7?.....folks, we're getting the same design. I don't know what it will be called but there will not be a 7 attached to the name.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
extrachrispy Avatar
60 months ago
10nm is utterly astonishing. This is only one order of magnitude larger than the wavelength of a 1eV electron.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
x-evil-x Avatar
60 months ago

My iPhone 6 screen cracked. I ended up ordering an SE from my carrier for a really good price. I typically upgrade every 2 years. (3G, 4, 5, & 6). If I didn't crack my screen I probably could have lasted another year with this phone. (Apple can't fix it either .. The frame is actually bent).

When I read reports like this, I wonder how much more the phone will do from a processor standpoint. I don't think we've hit a ceiling as mobile will grow for a while to come, but when you look back at the iPhone 3G vs 4 and 4 vs 5 the speed differences were large. Now that we're well into the 64 bit era of mobile processors, I want to see how big of a jump from iPhone 7 will be from my 6. I think most of us could hold out for iPhone 7s or 8 or iPhone X lol (10th anniversary phone).

Either way, I'm excited.

I think the jumps on your 2 year plan (exact same as what I've done for 8 years) showed big jumps from 3g-4-5 but going from the 5 to the 6 with the larger screen especially the + didn't feel like a big jump. the 6s+ is a much bigger jump from the 5-6s. I think we should see a big performance jump this year with the 7 coming from the 6. But yea i agree with you phones are fast enough to the point that it isn't annoying to use them like it used to be.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jakeoster Avatar
60 months ago
Maybe it's time we see Apple do away with the nomenclature after 2017. Much like we don't see Apple change the name of their MacBooks. It feels like smartphones are maturing in that direction.

iPhone SE -small option
iPhone -standard option
iPhone Plus -big option
iPhone Edition -same as the plus but with more impressive materials, possibly improved durability, and a killer design.

People are paying ridiculous sums of money now to customize their iPhones through companies like Feld & Volk. Seems like something Apple would be onboard with and possibly offer a range of iPhone Editions in exotic materials and own this new market.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wizard Avatar
60 months ago



It'd be nice, but the x86 instruction set that allows Windows to run on Macs would have to be implemented first to these ARM chips.

This is the thing that people get wrong, it wouldn't need to support Windows at all. Your iPhone doesn't support Windows and neither does you iPad so why would it be a requirement for a "NEW" product. Note the new here, an OSX based ARM device does not need to replace the i86 stuff right away. If they implemented some sort of iOS compatibility the machine would have a massive amount of software compatibility right out of the box. This especially when you consider all the open source available for the OSX OS. Plus Apple wouldn't launch until they had all the traditional i86 OSX apps running on the platform.

In any event the idea that you need to run Windows is quickly becoming a niche value, a very small niche value.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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