In June we reported that TSMC (Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) and its Integrated Circuit Design service partner Global UniChip had secured a three-year agreement with Apple to supply foundry services for the next A-series chips built using 20nm, 16nm and 10nm process nodes. The foundry was to complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014. Today a report claims that TSMC is aggressively ahead of schedule.
According to a new DigiTimes report, TSMC has stepped up its purchases of manufacturing equipment for its 20nm process which is slated to enter volume production in the first quarter of 2014, according to sources at fab-tool suppliers. Today, Apple's new A7 uses a 28nm processor while Apple's A8 is scheduled to shift to a 20nm processor in 2014.
The report further noted that TSMC's investment in 20nm manufacturing equipment for the fourth quarter of 2013 is expected to outpace that allocated for the third quarter. In addition, shipments of equipment for TSMC's 16nm HKMG process have kicked off. TSMC expects to initiate volume production of 20nm chips in early 2014 followed by volume production of 16nm FinFETs in about one year which is in line with their contract with Apple.