Apple will continue its tight manufacturing relationship with TSMC for at least the foreseeable future. According to a new report from Digitimes, the Apple A15 chip will begin production in May. The production schedule lines up for the iPhone 13 launch in the fall. The A15 chip will use the same 5 nanometer fabrication size as the A14.
Although the fabrication size remains the same, Digitimes say it will use an ‘enhanced’ manufacturing process.
Apple and TSMC’s relationship has been very successful, with the companies quick to adopt new process sizes. The A14 chip was the first mass-produced chip to use 5 nanometer.
5 nanometer is part of the reason why Apple’s M1 chip in Macs is so much more performant and power efficient than the Intel chips it replaces, because Intel has been struggling to keep up on process die size. Its latest CPUs use 10 nanometer fabrication.
Apple is keen to keep the lead. Digitimes says the company has already ordered TSMC’s 4 nanometer supply which will start production in late 2021. Digitimes speculates that this will first be used in a new generation of Mac chips. If production is ramping in late 2021, you can likely expect the first Apple products featuring 4-nm chips to hit shelves in the spring of 2022.