According to a new report from Digitimes, TSMC has officially begun production of the Apple A11 SoC, set to feature in the iPhone 8 later this year. The foundry apparently wanted to begin mass production in April but faced issues with yields. TSMC will be the sole supplier of A11 chips for the upcoming iPhone refresh.
The A11 chip is also expected to be included in the iPhone 7s spec bump phones, which will seemingly use the same chassis design as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, although this is not universally supported by the rumors.
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As usual, Apple has designed the A11 layout to its proprietary custom specification and then relies on a third party to fabricate the components. Most benchmarks show Apple’s custom CPU designs as the best in the smartphone industry as far as performance is concerned.
Digitimes acknowledges that there were some production issues but notes these issues have now been resolved.
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.
Other reports have indicated that the iPhone 8 will pack in 3 GB RAM, which is the same as the iPhone 7 Plus. Yield issues for the iPhone 8 have been widely reported in recent weeks. On Tuesday, KGI claimed that mass production of the iPhone 8 may not start until October or November. A separate report has also suggested that the device may not go on sale until October.
Variants of the Apple A11 chip may also appear in Apple’s upcoming iPad revisions. The company is expected to debut a new 12.9 inch iPad Pro and a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro at some point in the year. It is also possible that if these iPads launch sooner rather than later, that they use an ‘A10X’ chip or similar instead.
(Header image is a concept drawing based on recent CAD schematics for iPhone 8)