TSMC will be moving to Second Generation Integrated Fan-Out Wafer-Level Package Technology for the 2018 iPhone
Earlier this week Patent Apple posted two supply chain based reports (one and two) showing that Samsung may have been given the opportunity to get a foot in the door as a minor supplier of processors for 2018 iPhones because of their 7nm processors using EUV technology that TSMC won't be introducing until 2019. But make no mistake about it; TSMC will own the lion's share of Apple's 2018 iPhone processors and here's why: TSMC's integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging technology is about to enter its second generation, which will bring more competitiveness to the foundry's 7nm FinFET process technology for next-gen iPhones.
Digitimes quotes "observers" as saying that "It is unlikely Samsung will be able to regain application processors orders for Apple's iPhone, as TSMC's in-house developed InFO wafer-level packaging will make the Taiwan-based foundry's 7nm FinFET technology more competitive than Samsung's. TSMC's innovation in backend packaging plays a key role in securing exclusive orders for Apple's processors for the upcoming iPhones."
The problem, as always with opinions like this, is who are the "observers" being quoted. They're certainly not TSMC officials.
Interestingly the report further pointed out that "Samsung has grabbed Apple's A9 chip orders for the new 9.7-inch iPads introduced earlier in 2017."
At times competing supply chain rumors that only supply "industry insiders" or 'industry observers" as sources can be problematic when they politically contradict each other. Sometimes these "observers and insiders" are really stock brokers trying to pitch the story in their favor. So with both rumors coming to the surface this week that contradict each other to a certain degree, we have to be a little skeptical.
In the big picture it may be that Samsung has won more business for Apple's 2018 iPad processors that will use their new EUV technology and that TSMC will retain their exclusive with Apple due to their advantage with integrated fan-out (InFO) wafer-level packaging technology.
In the end, TSMC will be the winner for Apple's iPhone processors and Samsung will continue to try to win as much business as they can from Apple on every component possible from displays to memory and processors.
As for Apple, they're the biggest winner of all being that they're able to keep top industry suppliers fighting for their business. It's why Apple is continually coming out on top in the Fortune 500 Global Companies profit list.
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