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TSMC Reveals that Smartphones with 7nm Processors on Track for Q4 2018 could bring up to 40% Power Reduction



On January 4th Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple is Likely to launch their 2018 iPhone with a 7nm A12 Processor from TSMC." The report noted that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) was ready to enjoy a sure win over Samsung Electronics in the race to 7nm process volume production in 2018, as it has secured orders from over 40 customers for fabricating chips on the advanced process for mobile communication, high-performance computing and AI (artificial intelligence) applications. On January 19th we posted a follow-up report titled "TSMC Announces 7nm Processors will be the story of the Year with Production Kicking off in Q2.


Now that we're in Q2, TSMC's co-CEO CC Wei spoke with reporters yesterday and revealed that TSMC's 7nm process technology in terms of performance, power and area density as well as its schedule is leading the industry. The foundry expects sales generated from the node to account for over 20% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 10% in all of the year.


Wei reiterated that TSMC will have more than 50 customer tape-outs with its 7nm process technology by the end of 2018 for applications including mobile devices, server CPU, network processors, gaming, GPU, FPGA, cryptocurrency, automotive and AI. Dubbed N7, the node is already in volume production.


Will Apple's next-gen premium iPhones introduce a 7nm A12 processor? More than likely. What could it mean for Apple's next iPhones? According to TSMC:


"Compared to its 10nm FinFET process, TSMC's 7nm FinFET features 1.6X logic density, ~20% speed improvement, and ~40% power reduction.


TSMC set another industry record by launching two separate 7nm FinFET tracks: one optimized for mobile applications, the other for high performance computing applications."


With 40% power reduction, smartphones will last longer before having to recharge, ensuring a full day's battery life in most cases. If true, that will provide next-gen iPhones with a real advantage over previous iPhone generations and over competing smartphones that are unable to get in on the first round of 7nm production.


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