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'TSMC' Articles

TSMC Expected to Remain Exclusive Supplier of 'A13' Chip Orders for 2019 iPhones

Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC will likely remain Apple's contract chipmaker next year, as the exclusive supplier of "A13" chips for 2019 iPhones, according to industry analysts cited in a report by the EE Times. "As long as TSMC continues to offer something new at leading-edge every year and continues to execute well on yield, I could see Apple remaining sole source on foundry at TSMC for years to come," Arete Research analyst Brett Simpson said in an interview with EE Times.TSMC has been Apple's exclusive supplier of A-series chips since 2016, fulfilling all orders for the A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Multiple reports indicate TSMC will also be the exclusive supplier of the "A12" chip in 2018 iPhones. TSMC's packaging offerings are widely considered to be superior to that of other chipmakers, including Samsung and Intel, so it won't be surprising if that exclusivity continues with the "A13" chip in 2019. TSMC has been gradually shrinking the size of its dies over the years as it continues to refine its manufacturing process: A10 Fusion is 16nm, A11 Bionic is 10nm, and this year's "A12" is expected to be a 7nm chip. The "A13" will likely be a 7nm+ chip with extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), with volume production expected to begin in the second quarter of 2019, in time for a fall iPhone launch next year. Beyond that, TSMC recently confirmed that it plans to invest $25 billion towards volume production of 5nm chips by 2020, so there's a good chance that Apple will rely

Apple Supplier TSMC Recovering From 'Debilitating' Computer Virus [Updated x2]

Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is in recovery from a "debilitating" computer virus that hit many of its fabrication tools this past Friday evening. The company says that 80 percent of the affected tools have been restored, but it's now on a path to warn its customers -- potentially including Apple -- of delayed shipments and reduced revenue due to the virus (via Bloomberg). TSMC builds chips for Apple's iPhone, and in late July a report from DigiTimes stated that the supplier had begun commercial production of chips manufactured using its advanced 7-nanometer process, including Apple's A12 processor for the 2018 iPhones. Now TSMC says many of its customers can expect shipment delays, although it didn't specify which customers would be affected. The supplier says that "no confidential information" was compromised during the virus attack and as of Sunday most of its customers had been notified. TSMC believes the virus came from a "misoperation" during the software installation process for a new tool that then spread through its computer network, and one analyst thinks "all of TSMC's 12-inch wafer fabrication plants" were infected. Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said he thinks all of TSMC’s 12-inch wafer fabrication plants had been infected and that many customers had been affected, though the impact will be “very limited” because the company can make up for the losses during the busiest holiday quarter. TSMC makes Apple chips in its 12-inch fabrication plants. “Long-term, TSMC’s trustworthy image is somewhat

TSMC Ramps Up Production of 7nm Chips Ahead of 2018 iPhones, Invests $25 Billion to Move to 5nm by 2020

Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has begun commercial production of chips manufactured using its advanced 7-nanometer process (via DigiTimes). One of the major customers for chips built with the technology will be Apple and the A12 processor, which is expected to be found in all three upcoming 2018 iPhones. The announcement comes from newly appointed TSMC CEO C.C. Wei, who spoke during the company's technology symposium in Taiwan yesterday in hopes of dismissing recent speculation that TSMC's 7nm production was facing a "slower-than-expected" yield rate. Wei didn't provide specific orders and customers for the 7nm chip output, but indicated the ramp up will boost TSMC's overall production capacity from 10.5 million wafers in 2017 to 12 million in 2018. Renderings of the 2018 iPhones The chips built using the 7nm process technology are destined for AI, GPU, cryptocurrency, and 5G applications -- totaling 50 chip designs by the end of 2018. For iPhones, the new 7nm process will pave the way for the type of performance improvements customers expect in new iPhones every year. Orders for Apple's custom A12 processor for use in the upcoming iPhones will play a major driver of TSMC's 7nm chip production growth in 2018, according to market sources. The foundry has secured 7nm chip orders from about 20 customers including AMD, Bitmain, Nvidia and Qualcomm. The majority of the orders will be carried out in the first half of 2019, the sources said. At the technology symposium, Wei also said that TSMC is scheduled to move a new 5nm node technology to

Patent Applications Reveal Apple's Research Into 3D Chip Packaging

Apple's persistent quest for better performance, longer battery life, and slimmer form factors appears to be driving its research into advanced chip packaging technologies. So-called "2.5D" and "3D" packaging methods stand to offer significant gains in all of these areas by increasing memory bandwidth, reducing power consumption, and freeing up space for higher-capacity batteries. Apple has been an aggressive adopter of new device packaging methods, mostly thanks to integrated fan-out (InFO) innovations provided by foundry partner TSMC. TSMC's success has spurred it into further developing and diversifying its packaging offerings, and TSMC has emerged as an industry leader in packaging techniques. While versions of TSMC's InFO packaging have brought performance improvements to Apple devices, such as better thermal management and improved package height, it has largely not been a direct enabler of improved electrical performance. This is set to change with future packaging techniques and is already seen in some products that utilize interposers for higher density interconnects to on-package memory, such as High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). The primary memory candidate for inclusion in such a package would be conforming to the Wide I/O set of standards described by JEDEC, and mentioned by name in several of the patents. This memory improves on LPDDR4 by increasing the number of channels and reducing the transfer speed per channel, thus increasing the overall bandwidth but lowering the energy required per bit. Interposers do, however, pose several issues for

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

Taiwanese Apple Suppliers Face Falling Stock Prices Amid Ongoing Concern Over Weakened iPhone X Demand

Three major Apple suppliers faced falling stock prices on the Nikkei Asia300 Index today, believed to be directly related to "concerns over demand for iPhone X." The three Taiwanese suppliers were Largan Precision, Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn), and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, dropping 4.4 percent, 1 percent, and 3 percent on the index, respectively. iPhone X demand concerns and decline in supplier stock prices came after the latest analyst report by JP Morgan yesterday, predicting "slashed" iPhone X orders in the first part of 2018. In a research note reported by CNBC, analyst Narci Chang said "high-end smartphones are clearly hitting a plateau this year," singling out Apple by forecasting that iPhone X manufacturing "might be down 50 percent quarter-over-quarter." Reports of "weakened" iPhone X demand heading into 2018 began emerging late last year, mainly stemming from analyst belief that the high price of the device would eventually lead to reduced sales after early adopters got their iPhone X. These reports have caused several Apple suppliers to be anxious over low order visibility for the full range of iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models in Q1 2018. CLSA analyst Nicolas Baratte argued that the reported reduction of the iPhone X's Q1 2018 shipment forecast from 50 million units down to 30 million units "remains inflated." Despite multiple stories about the iPhone X's plateaued demand in early 2018, the smartphone is believed to have sold well following its fall launch in 2017 and throughout the holiday season. Research data

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

2018 iPad Pro Models Could Have Very Fast Octa-Core A11X Bionic Chip

Apple's next-generation iPad Pro models released in 2018 will feature octa-core processors, based on Taiwanese supplier TSMC's improved 7nm manufacturing process, according to Chinese website MyDrivers. iPad Pro with slim bezels and no Home button rendered by Benjamin Geskin The report, citing sources within Apple's supply chain, claims the eight cores in the tentatively named A11X Bionic chip will include three high-performance "Monsoon" cores and five energy-efficient "Mistral" cores. Like the A11 Bionic chip in the latest iPhone models, which is built on a 10nm process, the A11X chip will reportedly feature TSMC's integrated fan-out wafer level packaging, or InFO WLP for short. The chip will also presumably include a next-generation M11 coprocessor and neural engine for artificial intelligence tasks, such as processing facial recognition given rumors about Face ID on 2018 iPad Pro models. The eight-core processor should unsurprisingly result in CPU performance improvements on next-generation iPad Pro models. Our own Chris Jenkins provided an in-depth look at the architecture of Apple's A11 Bionic chip. He also highlighted details about TSMC's improved 7nm process and advanced InFO packaging process for 2018. Apple's current 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models have an A10X Fusion chip based on TSMC's 10nm fabrication process. In addition to gaining Face ID, next-generation iPad Pro models are expected to have an iPhone X form factor with slimmer bezels and no Home button. However, the tablets will reportedly continue to have LCD displays due to

Apple's Jeff Williams Speaks About Artificial Intelligence and More at TSMC's 30th Anniversary Ceremony

Apple's operating chief Jeff Williams was in Taiwan today to attend the 30th anniversary ceremony of Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, more commonly abbreviated as TSMC. There, he spoke about artificial intelligence, the future of the semiconductor industry, and more. Williams first reflected on how Apple and TSMC began working together seven years ago. Today, TSMC is the exclusive supplier of the A10X Fusion and A11 Bionic processors in the latest iPhones and iPads.First off, thank you. It's a real honor to be here with this distinguished group, and we're here of course to celebrate TSMC's 30 years. And it's amazing as you've seen in the slides, how far technology has been driven over that time. TSMC got its start shortly after the introduction of the legendary Cray II supercomputer, and 25 years later we put this same processing power in people's pockets with an iPhone 4 in 2010. It really is remarkable, and it was actually 2010 that the first seeds of our partnership between Apple and TSMC were planted. I had flown to Taiwan and had dinner with Dr. Chang and Sophie at their house. It was a wonderful dinner. We were not doing business with TSMC at the time, but we had a great conversation. We talked about the possibilities of doing stuff together, and we knew the possibilities would be great if we could take leading edge technology and marry it with our ambitions. And what seems obvious now, wasn't then, because the risk was very substantial. The nature of the way Apple does business is we put all of our energy into our new products, and we

TSMC Founder Morris Chang to Retire in June 2018 as Apple's Chip Partner Plans World's First 3nm Fab

Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has announced today that its founder and chairman Morris Chang will be stepping down from all leadership positions effective June 2018, immediately following the annual shareholders meeting taking place that month (via DigiTimes and Reuters). Following Chang, TSMC will fall under the dual leadership of Mark Liu and C.C. Wei, with the former executive taking on the chairman of the board position and the latter becoming sole CEO of the company. Chang mentioned personal and family reasons for his retirement, and assured investors that the transfer of leadership would not change TSMC in any way, looking back on his time at the company, which he founded in 1987. Morris Chang via Wikimedia Commons Chang is now 86, and has earned a status as the father of Taiwan's chip industry. Chang added, "The past 30-odd years, during which I founded and devoted myself to TSMC, have been an extraordinarily exciting and happy phase of my life. Now, I want to reserve my remaining years for myself and my family. Mark and CC have been Co-CEO's of the company since 2013, and have performed outstandingly. After my retirement, with the continued supervision and support of an essentially unchanged board, and under the dual leadership of Mark and CC, I am confident that TSMC will continue to perform exceptionally." The plan of succession is said to have been in the works "for years," with Liu starting as a senior vice president for operations at TSMC and Wei as SVP for business development. Eventually, the two SVPs were promoted to

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

Multiple Apple Suppliers Share Revenue Reports Ahead of 'Peak' iPhone and Apple Watch Season

A collection of Apple suppliers have shared revenue reports today, which also provide a glimpse into the upcoming "peak" iPhone and Apple Watch manufacturing season. Starting off, Foxconn looked back at its profits in July and reported consolidated revenues of NT$315.06 billion (US$10.62 billion) for the month, which marks an increase of 7.53 percent year-on-year. For the first seven months of 2017, Foxconn's combined revenues were NT$2.2 trillion, increasing by 1.64 percent year-on-year (via DigiTimes). Those watching Foxconn's revenue report are now expecting the October-December period to be the "peak of 2017" for the company, thanks to its status as one of Apple's biggest suppliers and the launch of the iPhone 8 sometime in September. Foxconn's revenue will increase "gradually" in August, according to market watchers, and will continue until the end of the year. Holiday spending traditionally helps increase Apple and its suppliers' revenue, even boosting Foxconn's December period in 2016 in the face of an overall year that saw its first-ever profit decline. Check out our recent hands-on with an iPhone 8 dummy model Some market watchers expect Foxconn's revenues to increase gradually beginning August and the growth will last until the end of 2017 with the fourth quarter being the peak of 2017 for Foxconn. Apple Watch supplier Quanta Computer announced revenues for the second quarter of 2017 at NT$235.37 billion (US$7.93 billion), growing 3.3 percent from the previous quarter and 13.3 percent from the year-ago quarter. Today's report stated that next-generation

TSMC Rumored to Be Sole Supplier of A-Series iPhone Chips in 2018

Earlier this week, a report by The Korea Herald suggested that Samsung Electronics could be returning as a supplier for the so-called A12 chip in 2018's line of iPhones, after being removed from the A-series chip supply chain in 2016 and 2017, years in which Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company took on all of the orders. Now, industry observers reported upon by DigiTimes are predicting that TSMC is "still likely" to retain its title as the sole manufacturer of A-series chips in 2018. In today's report, TSMC's integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging technology -- which the supplier uses in its 7-nanometer FinFET chip fabrication -- is looked at as largely superior to any progress made by Samsung in the same field. Samsung is said to be "aggressively vying" for A-series orders from Apple ahead of 2018, but DigiTimes' sources state that even the company's close ties to OLED might not be enough for Apple to add Samsung as a secondary A-series supplier for the reported three iPhones launching in fall 2018. It is unlikely Samsung will be able to regain application processors orders for Apple's iPhone, as TSMC's in-house developed InFO wafer-level packaging will make the Taiwan-based foundry's 7nm FinFET technology more competitive than Samsung's, said the observers. Samsung has grabbed Apple's A9 chip orders for the new 9.7-inch iPads introduced earlier in 2017, the observers claimed. TSMC, which is already the sole supplier of Apple's 10nm A11 chips for the upcoming iPhones, will still likely obtain all of the next-generation A-series chip orders for Apple's

Samsung Rumored to Return to iPhone Chip Production in 2018

Samsung Electronics will return to producing chips for Apple in next year's iPhone lineup, according to a new report today by The Korea Herald. Before, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company held the sole supplier responsibility of providing Apple's A10 chip in the iPhone 7, as well as the A11 chip in the upcoming iPhone 8, but now today's report references a "crucial deal" made between Samsung Electronics co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun and Apple during a visit to Cupertino last month. According to the report, Samsung managed to close the deal because of the company's decision to purchase equipment solely intended for 7-nanometer chip fabrication for iPhone devices. This move, as well as using Samsung's "close ties on OLED," convinced Apple to reintroduce the supplier into the iPhone chip supply chain. Although details remain vague, The Korea Herald's sources said that Samsung would "share some parts" of the 2018 iPhone orders that have been previously monopolized by TSMC. According to news reports on July 18, Samsung recently purchased extreme ultra violet lithography machines, the most advanced chip manufacturing equipment, to produce seven-nanometer mobile processors solely for iPhone. “The CEO could persuade Apple’s top brass taking advantage of their close ties on OLED,” said an industry source. Samsung, the world’s largest mobile OLED maker with a whopping 95 percent market share, is the sole OLED supplier for the upcoming iPhone. In 2015, Apple dual-sourced the A9 chip from both TSMC and Samsung for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, leading to some blowback from

TSMC Sources Claim 'iPhone 8' Will Have Touch ID Integrated into Display

Apple has successfully finalized a solution to integrate Touch ID fingerprint recognition directly into the display of its upcoming "iPhone 8", according to a new report on Friday. Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) said it spoke to sources from Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), who apparently confirmed Apple's achievement during a technology convention held in Taipei on Thursday. Among several design changes TSMC reportedly discussed at the TSMC 2017 NA Technology Symposium was the lack of a home button on the redesigned OLED iPhone, owing to Apple's use of "an optical fingerprint sensor to enable authentication directly on the screen" in the absence of a physical Home button. In addition to the fingerprint recognition, the sources claimed the new iPhones will also come with "invisible infrared image sensors to enhance the functionality of the high-pixel camera" and to enable augmented reality functions. If true, news of Apple's on-screen fingerprint recognition solution will come as a relief to watchers tracking the development of Apple's "tenth anniversary" edition iPhone. Reports that the company has been researching ways to integrate fingerprint sensors directly into screens go as far back as June 2015, but more recent sources have claimed Apple has struggled to find a solution that overcomes the production challenges involved. Specifically, Apple was said to be facing low yield issues of its in-house fingerprint sensor solution, which may have been forcing it to consider three possible alternatives: remove

TSMC Begins Production of A11 Processor After Initial Manufacturing Issues Resolved

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has commenced production of Apple's A11 processor, according to a new report by DigiTimes. The chip is expected to power the company's redesigned OLED "iPhone 8", scheduled to launch in the fall. TSMC is the sole supplier of A11 chips, which could also make their way into the upgraded "S" cycle models of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and potentially upcoming iPad refreshes this year, too. TSMC originally aimed to start producing the chip in April with a view to completing 50 million units by July, but production was delayed because of issues in the 10-nanometer FinFET manufacturing process. However, those problems have now been solved, according to today's report. TSMC has begun 10nm chip production for Apple's next-generation iPhone 8 series, the sources said. Production was once affected by issues involving stacking components in the backend integrated fan-out packaging process, but they have already been solved, the sources said.Apart from faster A11 processors, all three rumored iPhone models may include glass bodies and wireless charging (though rumors disagree on this point). It is unclear if the two LCD models will feature the same edge-to-edge display rumored for the higher-end device and what other features will be included. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that production issues could result in a "severe" shortage of Apple's upcoming "tenth anniversary" OLED iPhone in the months following its rumored September launch, but other sources claim production is on schedule. TSMC was also the

TSMC Drops Out of Race to Acquire Toshiba Flash Unit, Foxconn Highest Bidder

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has withdrawn its offer for Toshiba's highly sought-after NAND flash memory business, leaving major Apple supplier Hon Hai in the driving seat to acquire the unit. Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, has offered up the highest bid so far, with almost 3 trillion Japanese yen ($30 billion) said to be on the table, according to Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun on Friday. Shares in Toshiba jumped 7 percent on the news. Toshiba is said to have narrowed down the number of bidders for its semiconductor business, which it is seeking to sell in order to raise at least $9 billion to cover U.S. nuclear unit charges that threaten the conglomerate's future. Out of the initial 10 interested parties one of which was reportedly Apple, the smaller group of bidders includes Western Digital, Korea's SK Hynix, U.S. investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, and a combined partnership bid from Silver Lake Management and U.S. chipmaker Broadcomm. Media reports made no mention of whether Apple made the cut, making the prospect seem unlikely. Japan's government could oppose a sale to Taiwan-based Foxconn because of the strategic value of Toshiba's technology to the national interest, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg. Toshiba reportedly wants to encourage Japanese companies to participate in the bidding process, since none are in the current group. The second round of the bidding war is expected to be held before the end of May, with the winner is expected to be announced in June before Toshiba's next shareholder

TSMC to Begin Production of 'iPhone 8' and 'iPhone 7s' A11 Chip in April

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will begin volume production on Apple's A11 chip in April, with a production capacity of 50 million units of the chip aimed to be completed before July. The A11 chip is slated to power the new iPhone lineup launching later in 2017, including what is believed to be iterative "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 7s Plus" updates, along with the specced-out "iPhone 8." The A11 chips will be built on a 10-nanometer FinFET manufacturing process and are packed with a "wafer-level integrated fan-out" technology, according to a report by the Economic Daily News (via DigiTimes). For the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, TSMC currently manufactures the A10 chip on a 16nm FinFET process. The jump to 10nm is tipped to yield chips that are more power efficient, and subsequently provide end user experiences that are snappier. Before the end of 2017, TSMC is expected to "maintain a capacity" for producing a total of 100 million of Apple's A11 chips. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will begin volume production of Apple's A11 chips in April and will prepare a capacity for production of 50 million units of the chip before July, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report. The A11 chips, which will power the upcoming iPhone series slated for launch in September 2017, will be built on a 10 nm FinFET process and packed with a wafer-level integrated fan-out (InFO) packaging technology, said the report. Last summer it was confirmed that TSMC would become the sole supplier of the A11 chip, with the design of the chip

New Apple Product Expectations See AAPL and Supplier Shares Surge to Record Highs

Shares in Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) hit an all-time high on Tuesday, coming on the back of record spikes in Apple's share price over the last rontew trading days. TSMC share price rose to 195 New Taiwan Dollars, up NT$3.5 or 1.83 percent on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, breaking a previous record set in October 2016. Shares in other Apple parts suppliers in Asia also rallied on Tuesday, reported Nikkei Asian Review. Shares in optical lens manufacturer Largan Precision hit an all-time high and contract electronics maker Pegatron reached the highest level since last year. At one point, Foxconn reached NT$91.80, its highest level since 2016. The rallies came as Apple's own share price hit another all-time high on Monday, reaching $141.46 at the end of trading, following indications that the company could make new product announcements on Tuesday. Rumors suggest Apple is planning updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, a 128GB iPhone SE, a red color option for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and new Apple Watch bands. The gains have also been fed by speculation surrounding Apple's "iPhone 8", which is expected to launch in the fall, but could conceivably appear earlier. Several financial analysts have raised their price targets for Apple's stock to between $150 and $185, according to research notes obtained by MacRumors. TSMC is also thought to be considering moving some of its chip manufacturing into the United States, according to sources, with a decision said to be coming specifically in the "first half of 2018", with upwards of $16