In response to yesterday's ZDNet Korea report about Samsung signing a manufacturing agreement to ramp up production for Apple's next generation A8 processor, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has confirmed that its 20nm wafer starts were delayed recently due to a specification issue of materials used in its CMP (chemical mechanical planarization) process. The issue has been resolved, and no shipments will be delayed, said the wafer foundry house. In fact, TSMC is currently ahead of Schedule producing Apple's next generation A8 processor.
Taiwan based DigiTimes reports that "TSMC began volume production of its 20nm process node at the beginning of 2014, focusing on Apple's A8 processors. The yield rate of the 20nm process has been ramped up significantly since then, reaching a level ahead of schedule.
While the production of 20nm wafers was delayed temporarily, no production lines have been shut down partially, and the CMP materials issue has been solved since TSMC has been maintaining a multi-source policy for the purchase of needed materials, TSMC said.
TSMC will continue to ramp its 20nm capacity quarter on quarter and expects sales of 20nm products to account for 20% of its total revenues in the fourth quarter of 2014."
In December we reported that "TSMC's new president and CEO Mark Liu said in a keynote speech yesterday at the company's annual supply chain management forum in Hsinchu that 'The 20nm system-on-a-chip is the most critical ramp-up TSMC has carried out in years. We will start high-volume production of this chip next month.'"
Whether Apple is planning to introduce a new iPhone model or other new product along with their planned iPhone 6 to justify ramping up production with both TSMC and Samsung chip plants is unknown at this time.
Whether last week's rumor of Apple ordered 90 million iPhone 6 units from Foxconn sheds any light on this situation can't be confirmed at the present time. Yet with two plants reportedly ramping up production for the new A8 processor, something interesting is brewing, that's for sure.