While Intel continues to shake its head to introduce its 10 nanometer processors, Apple continues to slide like an okra down the miniaturization trail with its vendors. The company was the first to introduce mass products with 7nm processors (the A12 and the A12X Bionic) and, next year, should take the next step in this race, with chips 5 nanometers.
At least that’s what the DigiTimes – which, as we know, isn’t exactly the most reliable source for information specifically on Apple products and secrets – but it has a very acceptable track record with Apple’s suppliers and the company’s production chain in China. The newspaper talked to sources Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, a partner of Apple that has been exclusively manufacturing the company’s own chips for a long time, and learned the information.
Apparently, TSMC will show its new facilities for manufacturing 5nm processors – in which it will invest more than US $ 25 billion – at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which will take place in Barcelona (Spain) starting next week. Once the announcement is made, Apple is expected to be the supplier’s first partner to place a fat order for chips – possibly the «A14» – already for 2020 under the new manufacturing process.
The “A13” chip, to be included in the iPhones and iPads of 2019, should maintain the 7nm architecture, but it will also have a notable novelty: it will be the first from Apple to incorporate a new TSMC technology called “Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography” (EUV ), which will allow even smaller layers to be built into processors and make them take up even less space.
As for the “A14”, we do not yet know what will be the performance gain brought about by miniaturization. In fact, simply reducing the size of the manufacturing process does not directly benefit the performance of a processor, but it allows a smaller area to be occupied by more transistors and, thus, give more processing power to the part.
Let’s wait for the next steps in this story. I’m excited, are you?