If the new Mac computers sell like hot cakes, Apple will need a lot of M1 supply. NotebookCheck reports TSMC may be unable to deliver the projected M1 order volume. As such, analysts are speculating that Apple will once again see itself forced to contract Samsung's foundry division.
TSMC's limited 5nm capacity is reportedly fully or close to fully booked, leaving no room for extra volume. Apple's M1 SoC is believed to account for a quarter of TSMC's current 5nm capacity, with most of the other capacity going to Apple's A14 Bionic SoCs.
Samsung is the only other foundry in the world capable of making 5nm chips, but the South Korean giant's chip process isn't as good as TSMC's. This could lead to chips with poorer performance or power characteristics than the ones made by TSMC.
Prior to 2015, Apple used to employ Samsung, as well as TSMC for SoC production. By the middle of the last decade, however, Apple realized that TSMC’s packaging technology is clearly superior, plus it also felt awkward collaborating with one of its direct smartphone competitors. It will be interesting to see how a new Apple - Samsung collaboration can proceed now that Apple is planning to emerge as an important player on the laptop and desktop processor market.