The Apple A15 chip will go into production in May, according to a new study from Digitimes. The iPhone 13 will be released in the fall, according to the production schedule. The A15 chip will be manufactured on the same 5-nanometer scale as the A14. And businesses are already planning for next year’s performance boost…
Apple will maintain its good manufacturing partnership with TSMC for the near future. The A15 will use an ‘enhanced’ manufacturing process, according to Digitimes, despite the fabrication size remaining unchanged from the A14.
The partnership between Apple and TSMC has been a huge success, with both companies quickly adopting new process sizes. The A14 chip was the world’s first mass-produced 5-nanometer chip.
Since Intel has been struggling to keep up with process die size, 5 nanometer is one of the reasons why Apple’s M1 chip in Macs is so much more performant and power-efficient than the Intel chips it replaces. Its most recent CPUs are made on a 10-nanometer scale.
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Apple is determined to maintain its lead. According to Digitimes, the company has already placed an order for TSMC’s 4 nanometer supply, which is expected to begin production in late 2021. According to Digitimes, this technology will first be used in a new generation of Mac chips. If production ramps up in late 2021, the first Apple products with 4-nm chips could hit store shelves in the spring of 2022.
Since the A15 will remain at 5 nanometers, any performance/efficiency gains will be primarily achieved through architectural adjustments, thanks to Apple’s silicon design expertise.
This is not an odd timeline. In fact, it continues the two-year-old pattern of using the same process size. With the A12, Apple and TSMC set the industry standard as the first mass-market 7-nanometer chip, and then stuck with 7-nanometer for the A13. In the same way, 10-nanometer was first used in the A10X and then again in the A11.