DigiTimes heard rumors that TSMC signed a three-year contract with Apple to supply foundry services for the next A-series SoCs built using 20nm, 16nm and 10nm process technology. It's unknown whether TSMC will be the sole supplier of these Apple-designed chips.
TSMC will start to manufacture Apple's A8 chips in small volume in July 2013, and substantially ramp up its 20nm production capacity after December, the sources revealed. The foundry will complete installing a batch of new 20nm fab equipment, which is capable of processing 50,000 wafers, in the first quarter of 2014, the sources said.
A portion of the upcoming production capacity, estimated at 20,000 wafers, can later be upgraded to process wafers used to build 16nm chips, the sources continued. TSMC is scheduled to volume produce the Apple A9 and A9X processors starting the end of third-quarter 2014, the sources said.
The upcoming Apple A8 processor will be found in a new iPhone slated for release in early 2014, and the A9/A9X chips will be used in the newer-generation iPhone and iPad products, the sources claimed.