Posted by alphaatlas 11:38 AM (CST)
Monday February 11, 2019
A recent Digitimes report claims that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will be "the exclusive supplier of Apple's custom-designed chips dubbed the A13 that will power the 2019 series of iPhones." Apple sourced chips from multiple foundries in the past, which led to measurable power consumption differences in some previous generation iPhones, but this news isn't exactly surprising. The only other company capable of manufacturing 7nm chips right now is Apple's biggest competitor, Samsung, but Digitimes' sources also claim that the "foundry is scheduled to enter volume production of the chips built using 7nm process technology including an enhanced version with EUV in the second quarter of 2019." Assuming the source is correct, this more or less confirms that TSMC's 7nm EUV process is on track, in spite of recent issues at one manufacturing facility. TSMC's current 7nm chips are made without EUV, while Samsung started with EUV when they began 7nm production. If you're ready to start picking sides early, Samsung is rumored to be the manufacturer of Nvidia's 7nm Ampere GPUs, while TSMC already supplies AMD with their 7nm Ryzen chiplets and Vega GPUs.
TSMC CEO CC Wei said at the company's investors meeting in January that sales generated from 7nm process technology are forecast to account for more than 25% of company revenues this year. Wei added that the foundry's 7nm chip client portfolio is "growing stronger" as more chip designs for applications such as HPC and automotive demand the process. Despite the optimism about its 7nm chip sales, TSMC expressed caution about the foundry's overall operations citing factors on a macro level. The foundry expects 2019 to be "a slow year" for its business and also the global chip sector. It forecasts that the foundry segment will register only flat growth.