A12


'A12' Articles

TSMC Details Technology Roadmap With Multiple Offerings to Benefit Future Apple Devices

As part of its recent Q1 earnings call, TSMC announced that its 7-nanometer FinFET process node has entered into high volume manufacturing (HVM), meaning we could see consumer devices featuring the process as soon as the second half of this year. Previous reports indicated that TSMC is expected to have sole production responsibility for Apple's upcoming A12 chip and its variants expected to debut in new iPhone and iPad products starting this fall. The 7nm node (referred to as CLN7FF, 7FF, or simply N7) is expected to have an approximate 40 percent power and area benefit over TSMC's 10nm FinFET process, utilized in Apple's A11 processors. Additionally, as reported by EETimes, TSMC has offered insight into its technology roadmap, both for its silicon processes and for its device packaging technologies. TSMC is believed to have wrested sole ownership of production for Apple's processors away from the dual-sourcing arrangement with Samsung due to its advancements in wafer-level packaging. (What also went largely unnoticed at the time was TSMC's introduction of land-side capacitors attached directly to the substrate.) Building on the packaging leadership established with its InFO packaging offerings, TSMC has now announced six new packaging types aimed at a variety of devices and applications. The InFO technique is getting four cousins. Info-MS, for memory substrate, packs an SoC and HBM on a 1x reticle substrate with a 2 x 2-micron redistribution layer and will be qualified in September. InFO-oS has a backside RDL pitch better matched to DRAM and is ready now.

Apple A12 and Snapdragon 700 Chip Production May Lead TSMC to Earn Record Profits in 2018 After All

Last week, Apple supplier TSMC saw its shares decline around nine percent after it cut its full-year revenue growth target to 10 percent, compared to its previous 10-15 percent estimate. The manufacturer blamed the cut on lower-than-expected smartphone demand and growing uncertainty in the cryptocurrency mining market. Apple's stock also declined around four percent on Friday, as many analysts equated the slowing smartphone demand with poor or declining sales of the iPhone X, which has an A11 Bionic chip fabricated by TSMC, in the second quarter. Now, a report from DigiTimes suggests that TSMC may post better-than-projected revenues and profits in 2018 after all, as it gradually ramps up volume production of so-called A12 chips for Apple's next-generation iPhone lineup. The wafers are expected to be manufactured based on TSMC's advanced 7nm process.The sources said that TSMC will see its revenue ratio for advanced 7nm process hit a high of 20 percent in 2018, and may therefore post better-than-projected revenues and profits for the second half of the year and register an annual revenue growth of over 10 percent.TSMC may also benefit from Qualcomm's decision to roll out its new Snapdragon 700 series processors in May, ahead of schedule, according to the report. Qualcomm has allegedly grabbed significant orders from non-Apple smartphone vendors and will have TSMC fabricate the chips in the second half of the year. The report is questionable given that TSMC presumably factored in production of A12 chips into its revenue guidance last week, but the

TSMC is Reportedly Exclusive Supplier of A12 Processors in 2018 iPhones

Apple has reportedly selected Taiwanese manufacturing company TSMC to remain its exclusive supplier of so-called "A12" processors for a trio of new iPhone models expected to launch in the second half of 2018, according to DigiTimes. The report, citing unnamed sources within Apple's supply chain, claims the A12 chip will be manufactured based on an improved 7nm process, which should pave the way for the type of performance improvements we see in new iPhones each year. TSMC is already the exclusive supplier of A11 Bionic chips for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, and it was also said to be the sole manufacturer of A10 Fusion chips for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. If the report is accurate, it would be a loss for Samsung, which has been attempting to win back orders from Apple for around two years. Both Samsung and TSMC supplied Apple with A9 chips for the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE, but Apple has relied upon TSMC as its sole supplier for newer devices. The Korea Herald last July reported that Samsung had secured a deal to supply some of the A12 chips for new iPhones in 2018, but two days later, DigiTimes reported that TSMC was still likely to obtain all of the next-generation A-series chip orders for Apple's upcoming 2018 series of iPhones. TSMC's in-house InFO wafer-level packaging is said to make its 7nm FinFET technology more competitive than Samsung's. Our own Chris Jenkins provided an in-depth technical look at this package process last

Apple's Chip Partner TSMC Shares Details on 7nm Node and Advanced InFO Package Process for 2018

At the Open Innovation Platform Ecosystem Forum in Santa Clara on Wednesday, chip foundry TSMC provided an update (via EE Times) on the progress of its forthcoming technology nodes, several of which would be candidates for upcoming Apple chips. Most notably, the company's first 7-nanometer process node has already had several tape-outs (finalized designs) and expects to reach volume capacity in 2018. TSMC's 10 nm node, which first showed up in Apple's A10X chip in the iPad Pro, followed by the A11, has been fraught with issues (paid link) such as low chip yield and performance short of initial expectations. TSMC looks to change its fortune with the new 7 nm node, which would be suitable for the successor to the A11 chip given current timelines. In addition to the 7 nm node, TSMC also shared information on the follow-up revision to this node, dubbed, N7+. Featuring the long-beleaguered Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV), the revision would promise 20 percent better density, around 10 percent higher speeds, or 15 percent lower power with other factors held constant. While EUV has faced delays for over a decade at this point, it seems to finally be coming to fruition, and a 2019 volume availability update would allow Apple to update its chip process in subsequent years yet again. Apple had previously updated process nodes with every iPhone since the transition to 3GS before being forced to use TSMC's 16 nm node in consecutive years with the A9 and A10. Moving forward, that annual cadence is again in jeopardy as chip foundries deal with the realities of physics and