Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is expected to start making an integrated AP/GPU solution for Apple, using 20nm SoC process technology, according to Digitimes Research analyst Nobunaga Chai.
Chai indicated that TSMC could now be working on engineering samples of Apple's chips at 28nm although the foundry's first chip orders from Apple are unlikely to happen in 2013.
Previous reports cited various Chinese-language media outlets as saying that TSMC would secure orders from Apple later in the first quarter of 2013 to manufacture A6X processors using 28nm process technology. The new 28nm version of the existing A6X will power Apple's next-generation iPad and iPad mini devices, which will be launched around the middle of 2013.
In addition, Chai noted that though TSMC with its 20nm SoC process will most likely secure its first chip orders from Apple, the foundry's 16nm FinFET process will play a key role in Apple's "breakthrough" product.
TSMC's 20nm SoC process should be able to enter mass production between fourth-quarter 2013 and first-quarter 2014, followed by a newer 16nm FinFET node in less than one year, Chai said.