According to DigiTimes, TSMC plans to invest $25 billion into the mass production of 5nm chips by 2020 and it seems those chips would fuel Apple’s 2020 iPhones. The company is working on its sub-7nm process technologies and says that it’s on schedule with its plan to switch to 5nm EUV process by 2020.
TSMC has been the exclusive supplier of A-series chipsets to Apple for the last three years. Over the years, the company has made significant advances in miniaturization. TSMC manufactured the 16nm A10 Fusion chip that fuels the iPhone 7 series, the 10nm A11 Bionic chip which underpins the iPhone 8 series and the iPhone X, and most recently, the 7nm FinET A12 Bionic that powers the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
The chip that would power this year’s iPhones, which may or may not be called the A13, will reportedly be a 7nm chip and made using extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) that enables a more microscopic layering process. This means that Apple could be one of the first companies to use a 5nm chip, which would future iPhones support advanced AR and AI applications while also offering better battery life.
It goes without saying that a 5nm chip would also result in improved performance and thermal management. TSMC is expected to shed more light on its 5-nanometer facilities at the upcoming Mobile World Congress, so we’ll get to know more details in the future.