TSMC Speculated to Work on Apple A7 Processors

March 16, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

The chips that are needed to power up future iPhones and iPads are being readied by Apple and its manufacturing partners. We would probably see one of the next-generation processor getting into form later this month.

According to a report, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, will supposedly tape out Apple’s A7 chip this month. Tape out, incidentally, is one of the final steps before the manufacturing begins.

That process will probably allow TSMC to roll out with their production this summer, thus making way for a commercial production for the first quarter of 2014. TSMC will be employing their 20-nanometer manufacturing process on the A7.


According to sources who are in the know of TSMC’s plans, Apple is going about designing products that will be based on TSMC’s 20-nanometer process. The rumor is that TSMC, with a total investment of NT$500 billion (US$16.87 billion), is expanding their production facilities at 14-fab at the Tainan Science Park.

TSMC is speculated to use this 14-fab to manufacture the A7 chips for the Cupertino-based company.

Up until now, it was Samsung that used to provide Apple with their A series processors (which also includes the current A6 chip). But it seems Apple is looking at a wider spectrum to diversify.

If Apple continues to look for more pastures, Intel might also join in. If Intel jumps aboard, then we might see some processors made by their 14-nanometer process in 2014.

There are rumors that Apple might go for a limited production from the chip-maker, taking in from their current 22-nanometer process.

As of now, we hear that TSMC has a capex budget of US$9 billion for 2013, which is a rise from the US$8.3 billion that was spent in the previous year. TSMC might use up 90% of the capex for 2013 to raise their 28nm capacity.

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