The 2020 Apple iPhone will come with 5nm chipsets and Samsung’s will have theirs ready in time for next year’s handsets.
The 2020 iPhones have been leaking quite a bit in recent times and its feature set looks impressive. Over the past couple of days, news about Apple using 5nm chips in their next year’s iPhones have been gaining steam. As per a recent statement by TSMC, we get further proof that Apple will indeed be using this process for its chipsets.
In the past, while announcing the 2017 iPhone X, Apple really went all out when talking about the 7nm chip used and said that it was the first smartphone in the world to come with this technology. For those not in the know, smaller processes indicate more transistors in the same size which helps in boosting performance as well as boosting energy efficiency.
The Apple A13 chipset is expected to feature the same 7nm process; however, this time around it will integrate new technology called extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) which will make the 2019 iPhones a lot more powerful than some slimmer laptops available.
The 5nm chips are expected to be a game-changer and TSMC claims that they hit a significant milestone on its path to achieving this process. They have created a design infrastructure that can be used by clients such as Apple to start working on their chip designs.
“TSMC has announced delivery of the complete version of its 5nm design infrastructure within the Open Innovation Platform (OIP). This full release enables 5nm systems-on-chip (SoC) designs in next-generation advanced mobile and high-performance computing (HPC) applications, targeting high-growth 5G and artificial intelligence markets.”
TSMC had confirmed that it was gearing up to produce 5nm chips but they did not go so far as to mention that it would be ready for mass production in 2020.
Now, this scenario has changed to quite an extent and TSMC has informed its investors that it is on pace for 5nm chips production in the first half of 2020. This could match up with Apple’s regular timing of launching new iPhones in September.
As per a report by DigiTimes, TSMC CEO states, “Because of strong demand for 5G-related solutions from some major clients, Ho continued, the pure-play foundry’s capex this year will outpace the high end of its previously-estimated US$10-11 billion. TSMC plans to spend more to expand further its 7nm process production capacity and build up capacity for its newer 5nm node, according to Ho.
TSMC has become “a little bit more aggressive” with regards to its 5nm production ramp-up, said company CEO CC Wei during a Q&A session at the investor's conference. The foundry is on track to move the node to volume production in the first half of 2020. An acceleration in the worldwide 5G development will lead to an increase in demand for TSMC’s 5nm and 7nm processes, Wei believes.”
In a related report, Samsung also appears to be readying 5nm chips that will be ready to hit smartphones in 2020. The chip-making division has certified “full flow tools” from its partners which indicates it is ready to start the manufacturing process of its 5LPE, which is 5nm low power. This process will use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) to manufacture its 5nm chips and will deliver an increase in performance and power efficiency over its 7nm chips.
Charlie Bae, executive vice president of Foundry Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics said, “With the introduction of its EUV process node, Samsung has led a quiet revolution in the semiconductor industry. This fundamental shift in how wafers are manufactured gives our customers the opportunity to significantly improve their products' time to market with superior throughput, reduced layers, and better yields. We're confident that 7LPP will be an optimal choice not only for mobile and HPC but also for a wide range of cutting-edge applications."