Report: TSMC Starting Mass Production of Apple A13 Chip This Month

Apple A12 Bionic. (Image credit: Apple)

TSMC, Apple’s exclusive chip manufacturing supplier, has reportedly started production on the next-generation A13 chip meant to go into the next three iPhones. The chip is expected to use TSMC’s second-generation 7nm process, the first to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

TSMC Starts Manufacturing Apple A13 Chip

According to Bloomberg sources, TSMC began test production of the A13 in April, and volume production is expected to begin early this month. The EUV lithography is the successor to the company’s deep ultraviolet (DUV) process. It looks like TSMC is quite confident in its new process, since it’s willing to test the production of chips for a month before jumping into volume production. Furthermore, TSMC was not expected to begin mass production of 7nm EUV chips until next month.

As the primary benefits of the new 7nm EUV process are 17% transistor density and 10% reduction in power, compared to DUV, we may see Apple will focus primarily on increasing the transistor count on its A13 chip, which may or may not result in a significant jump in performance over the A12 used in current-generation iPhones. What’s more likely is that Apple will continue to increase the size of other components, such as the GPU, machine learning accelerator, image signal processor, etc.

Bloomberg’s sources said that Apple is planning to include new components in the chip, such as a cellular modem for making calls and connecting to the internet and power components based on a recent deal with Dialog Semiconductor Plc.

According to sources described as familiar with the matter, Apple is expected to use the A13 chip in all three successors to last year’s models, the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Other Expected Features Of New iPhones

In addition, Bloomberg's sources said that all three iPhone models will gain an additional camera compared to their predecessors. The high-end models will reportedly both come with three cameras this year (the third being a wide-angle camera), while the lower-end XR successor will come with two (the second being a telephoto camera). The back camera arrays will reportedly be located within a square in the top left corner.

Apple also reportedly intends to offer a feature that would put it on par with Samsung's newest smartphones, too: the ability to charge AirPods and other devices (Apple Watch?) off the back of the new iPhones, wirelessly.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.