Apple will use TSMC’s Arizona factory, which is currently under construction and scheduled to begin operations in 2024, to make chips, the company’s president Tim Cook told employees at an internal conference in Germany. bloomberg (opens in new tab)While this decision will reduce Apple’s reliance on TSMC’s manufacturing capacity in Taiwan, the company may still source its top-of-the-line system-on-chips from Taiwan.
“We have already made a decision to acquire a factory in Arizona, and this factory in Arizona will begin operations in 2024. I don’t know,” said Tim. Cook said: “And in Europe, as these plans become clearer, we are confident that we will also be sourcing from Europe.”
Given the tensions between China, Taiwan and the US, producing the majority of chips in Taiwan could now be seen as a geopolitical risk. Apple officials want to reduce the company’s risk while continuing to rely on TSMC.
Apple is TSMC’s largest customer and has outsourced most of its chip production to TSMC since 2014. As a result, the company tends to adopt his TSMC’s latest manufacturing techniques. The company will reportedly become the first company to adopt the foundry’s N3 (3nm class) manufacturing process to produce his SoCs for Apple’s 2023 premium products. Meanwhile, his TSMC fab in Arizona will manufacture chips using the company’s N5 production node, including N5, N5P, N4, N4P and N4X.
A key question about Apple sourcing chips from TSMC’s Arizona fab is what kind of chips the company plans to make. Apple is currently using the N5, N5P, and N4 to create various SoCs for mobile devices and PCs. Still, the question is whether the company’s products will continue to rely on existing application processors in 2024-2025.
Apple tends to use its SoCs for years after introducing various products. For example, his A14 Bionic chip that was used in the iPhone 12 is now in the 10th generation iPad. Other previous-generation smartphone SoCs power devices such as the Apple TV set-top box (A15 Bionic) and Studio Display LCD (A13 Bionic). Apple may continue to use his existing SoC in some products well into 2024-2025 (albeit speculative). Also, Apple has a ton of small SoCs and System-in-Packages (SiPs) for its headsets and watches, so if the U.S. also has the right packaging service, they’re going to his TSMC fab in Arizona. (again, we’re guessing).
There is another possibility. As the industry embraces multi-chiplet SiP, Apple may make some chiplets at his TSMD’s cutting-edge node in Taiwan and some in the US at its mature node. there is. That doesn’t reduce the company’s geopolitical risk per se, but it does at least increase the percentage of silicon produced in the United States.
Neither Apple nor TSMC commented on the story, as production plans are one of the best-kept trade secrets.