In order to meet the anticipated high-demand for the company’s forthcoming iPhone 8, Apple’s long-time chip supplier, Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), will begin mass producing its next-generation A11 SoC beginning in the next few weeks, according to a report published on Monday by DigiTimes.
Although the OLED-equipped iPhone 8, as well as its iPhone 7s and 7s Plus subordinates, won’t enter the mass production phase until July, the report alleges that TSMC, in cooperation with Apple, is working overtime this year to ensure that as many as “50 million A11 chips” will be ready by the time Foxconn is gearing up to start mass-assembling the devices ahead of their anticipated, late-September unveiling.
While the specifications of the A11 SoC remain under wraps, a few minor details all but point to the next-generation silicon being Apple’s most powerful and efficient to date. For starters, as DigiTimes reports, the A11 will be built using TSMC’s all-new 10 nanometer (10nm) FinFET manufacturing process. In comparison, Apple’s TSMC-manufactured A10 Fusion chips, powering the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, are built using the chip-maker’s 16nm process.
Generally speaking, a lower number of nanometers is an indication of “better performance and better efficiency,” because the lesser amount of space on the chip would create less space between individual transistors which would in turn enable the chip to reach higher clock speeds, 9to5Mac notes.
What’s also unclear is whether the A11 will fall into the same category as Apple A10 ‘Fusion’ SoC — which features a truly unique quad-core architecture, boasting a zippy 2.34 GHz clock speed, with two of those cores designed to draw on less power than the others. We can be at least somewhat assured, therefore, that the A11 will feature a higher clock speed than the A10 before it — though the actual design elements probably won’t be revealed until the iPhone 8, 7s and 7s Plus officially hit the market later on this fall.
On the whole, DigiTimes reports that TSMC is gearing up to produce as many as 100 million A11 SoCs by the end of 2017, which will power the entire line of Apple’s 2017 iPhone offerings, and is a clear indication that the company is bullish in its expectations of how the devices will sell. While we don’t know much about the iPhone 7s or 7s Plus, other than that they’ll likely boast upgraded internals and camera modules over their predecessors, there’s a lot more information circulating about the ‘iPhone 8’ — which could potentially be christened ‘iPhone X’ in light of the device’s 10th anniversary this year.