Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC is working hard on remaining Apple’s sole supplier for A-series chips as it works on ever smaller processes for its chip fabrication plants …
TSMC has been the exclusive supplier of Apple’s A-series chips for iPhones and iPads since the A9X used in the iPad Pro. The company’s technical lead has seen Samsung left out in the cold for the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
Digitimes reports that the company is this week breaking ground on a 5nm plant expected to hit volume production in 2020, the same year it will begin work on a 3nm plant for production in 2022.
According to TSMC schedules, the 5nm fab will kick off trial run in the first quarter of 2019 before volume production in 2020. In addition, the company has funneled hundreds of engineers into the R&D of 3nm process, and its 3nm fab is slated to start official run in 2022, expected to cluster more upstream equipment and materials suppliers and downstream packaging and testing players.
However, Samsung isn’t giving up the fight, and is reported to be working on a 4nm process, in part to attempt to win back Apple business. The two suppliers will also be duking it out in display technology, Samsung currently the sole supplier of the OLED screens for the iPhone X, but TSMC reportedly working with Apple on next-generation microLED panels.