According to industry analysts, Apple is likely to retain TSMC as the sole manufacturer of its processors for at least two years, since other semiconductor forges do not meet the expectations of the Cupertians. The world’s largest electronics company and contract manufacturer of chips have become very close, although this also causes some inconvenience for both sides. Apple risks the regular release of new iPhones and iPads, making a bet solely on TSMC. The latter, for its part, also falls into a strong dependence on Apple: almost 80% of its advanced 7-nm capacity will be given to the needs of the apple company this year.
Cooperation began in 2014, when Apple turned to TSMC with orders for the production of all new processors for the iPhone and iPad. According to Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams at the TSMC event in October last year, a Taiwanese semiconductor maker invested $ 9 billion for the needs of the Cupertino company and attracted 6,000 round-the-clock workers to create a new factory in Tainan in just 11 months.See More: Top 5 Tips for Reliable Smartphone Security
“While TSMC will continue to be the leaders, annually offering increasingly sophisticated production standards and continuing successful development, I think, Apple will be in the years to rely solely on the production of semiconductor TSMC», – says the analyst of Arete Research Brett Simpson (Brett Simpson).
In the opinion of Credit Suisse analyst Randy Abrams, TSMC will remain the only supplier of Apple processors until 2020. This is a unique situation for the Cupertino company, which, as a rule, relies on several Asian manufacturers of key components to reduce risks and effective pricing policy. “Cooperation between Apple and TSMC is mutually beneficial: Apple has an opportunity to update its processors every year, and TSMC ties itself to a very large customer in order to more effectively master advanced norms,” Abrams said. Support for Apple means a huge investment and a faster introduction of advanced technology than the rest of the industry.See More: Samsung has released a smartphone with a large display
The number of potential competitors of TSMC in recent years has declined due to the consolidation of the industry. The number of companies that could take Apple’s orders from TSMC now can be counted with two fingers. But, according to Brett Simpson, Samsung, which previously supplied processors for Apple, is not suitable due to a number of shortcomings.
“Samsung plans to expand its semiconductor business and take second place with time, but moving to the goal with Apple’s help raises its concerns. In the field of smartphones, for example, the company has already become in effect the only supplier of OLED screens and in addition supplies a significant amount of DRAM memory , camera sensors and NAND memory chips for Apple . Samsung is trying to get more semiconductor orders from Apple , but its share in the components of the iPhone is already critical today , “he said.See More: Everything we know about Red Dead Redemption 2
Concerning the potential cooperation with Intel, the analyst said: ” Intel is often seen as a possible contract manufacturer in the long term, given its investment in advanced technology, but the reality is that this is a completely different business, very different from the mass production of its own processors. Intel also has little experience in manufacturing powerful and energy-efficient single-chip systems that Apple needs , so we do not consider this company a viable alternative to TSMC . ”
It should also be remembered that TSMC is currently leading in the area of developing advanced production standards, while Intel is stalling for a few years at 14-nm standards (even if they are 10nm competitors in terms of density of transistors).See More: New tablets Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 debuted with Alexa’s assistant
According to analyst Mark Lee of Bernstein, TSMC will also return orders for printing advanced products of Qualcomm this year: “This is an important achievement because, from 2014, all high-end Qualcomm crystals were printed exclusively on the capacities of Samsung and Global Foundries .”
TSMC at one time got all the orders for the printing of Apple A10 and A11 crystals in many ways also because of its leadership in the field of chip packaging. For these solutions, InFO (Integrated Fan Out) packaging was used – these are compounded contact groups and crystals, and it allows you to place a memory module over the processor and make the design more compact and thinner, achieving a better heat dissipation.
Jeff Williams of Apple at the TSMC event last year said that the company does not worry about a possible lack of computing power in the future: “We at Apple are not worried about talking about slowing the progress in the semiconductor industry. It’s not like that at all. We believe that the potential is huge. We firmly believe in the promise of cloud computing, but in the future, new capacity will also be required to process data on the device. We believe that this is the best way to provide excellent opportunities without sacrificing responsiveness, confidentiality and security . ”