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The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and its IC design service partner Global UniChip have reached a three year foundry deal with Apple, reports DigiTimes. The deal is said to cover the next A-series chips built using the 20nm, 16nm, and 10nm process nodes.
TSMC will start to manufacture Apple’s A8 chips in small volume in July 2013, and substantially ramp up its 20nm production capacity after December, the sources revealed. The foundry will complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014, the sources said.
Portion of the upcoming production capacity, estimated at 20,000 wafers, can later be upgraded to process wafers used to build 16nm chips, the sources continued. TSMC is scheduled to volume produce the Apple A9 and A9X processors starting the end of third-quarter 2014, the sources said.
The upcoming Apple A8 processor will be found in a new iPhone slated for release in early 2014, and the A9/A9X chips will be used in the newer-generation iPhone and iPad products, the sources claimed.
The sources did not identify whether TSMC will be the sole supplier of these Apple-designed chips.
TSMC’s phase-4, -5 and -6 facilities of Fab 14, its 12-inch fab located in southern Taiwan, will be dedicated to making Apple’s A-series processors, the sources further noted. The foundry will initially allocate a capacity of 6,000-10,000 12-inch wafers for the manufacture of those chips, and output will rise gradually starting 2014, the sources said.
TSMC chairman and CEO Morris Chang remarked previously that the foundry’s 16nm FinFET process would enter mass production in less than one year after ramping up production of 20nm chips. Risk production for its 20nm process kicked off in the first quarter of 2013.
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Source: Associated Press