Apple Inc. manufacturing partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has started mass production of next-generation processors for new iPhones launching later this year, according to people familiar with the matter.
The processor, likely to be called the A12 chip, will use a 7-nanometer design that can be smaller, faster and more efficient than the 10-nanometer chips in current Apple devices like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, the people said.
They asked not to be identified discussing private plans. Apple and TSMC spokeswomen declined to comment.
More-capable chips help smartphones run apps faster and last longer before having to be recharged, key advantages in a competitive industry that’s struggling to grow.
In April, TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said it started mass-producing 7-nanometer processors, but didn’t disclose it was building them for a specific partner.
There have been concerns about how Apple would fare amidst a slowdown in the mobile-phone industry, as major markets from the US to China grow more saturated.
Global smartphone shipments fell 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter and declined 0.5 percent for the year, according to researcher IDC.
Apple would be one of the first phone makers to use the new chip technology in consumer devices, but it isn’t the only one.
New 7-nanometre chip production starts this year: Samsung
Samsung Electronics Co., trying to win business in the made-to-order chip production industry from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., said it will soon churn out processors based on an important new technology called 7 nanometer.
The world’s largest chipmaker said it will begin using the new technique this year, in time for mass production for customers next year. While that schedule is comparable with some competitors, the Korean company said it’s ahead in the mastery of a process that the industry’s been struggling with for years. Samsung surpassed Intel Corp. in annual chip sales last year for the first time based on its dominance of the memory industry.