The world’s largest information technology company – Apple and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as agreed to a partnership that would see to the production of Apple 5G modems for future iPhones. According to a new report by Nikkei Apple is reportedly planning to use TSMC’s 4nm process node, a modem that is yet to be deployed or used in any commercial product. With plans to move into mass production in 2023 at 4nm, for now, this modem is reportedly still undergoing design and testing at 5nm.
Apple’s switch to modems of its own design is something that has been highly anticipated and is expected to happen by 2023. TSMC would be the natural manufacturing partner to see t the formation of Apple’s modem. Qualcomm, a dominant player in the industry and responsible for the production of modem components for the entire iPhone 13 lineup has said that in the next two years it expects to account for less than 20 percent of iPhone modems. With the plans by Apple for TSMC to see to the creation of its own modem for future iPhones, it’s looking evident.
In 2019, Apple purchased Intel’s 5G modem division, foreshadowing the eventual switch. Earlier that year Qualcomm and Apple entered an agreement to end a costly modem technology patent dispute, with Qualcomm agreeing to a settlement of about $4 billion.
TSMC has had a very fair run with Apple in recent times and has been responsible for the manufacturing of all iPhone A-series processors as well as M1 systems-on-chip for Mac computers. According to Nikkei, hundreds of TSMC engineers are based in Cupertino and are ready to work with Apple’s chip development team. 2022 iPhone SoCs has been said will reportedly use TSMC’s 4nm process. Some iPad models are also said to be adopting 3nm processors by the year 2023. Nikkei mentions that iPhone is getting set to make the 3nm jump “as soon as” next year.
TSMC is the world’s first dedicated semiconductor foundry and has long been the leading company in its field. The company has the capacity to make chips for its customers with process nodes from 2 microns to 5 nanometres. TSMC is the first foundry to provide 7-nanometre and 5-nanometre (used by the 2020 Apple A14 and M1 SoC) production capabilities and the first to commercialize extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology in high volume.