Apple is expected to soon unveil a miniLED-backlit iPad Pro, and its miniLED supply chain is ready to expand shipments, having improved yield rates. In the semiconductor sector, supply for packaging tools has been extremely tight, with equipment vendors reluctant to expand production, wary of possibly a lurking bubble in the market. And MediaTek is keen to maintain its leadership in the 5G phone market segment. The IC vendor has stepped up purchases of BT substrates for use in its 5G mobile SoCs to make sure it has enough supply.
Tight capacity at foundry houses, coupled with shortages of some crucial components such as CMOS sensors, power management and driver ICs, could affect sales of individual handset brands in 2021, according to industry observers.
The notebook market has been robust in recent months thanks to stay-at-home needs. Chromebook shipments are expected to rise sharply in 2021. Apart from Intel, some other chip vendors, such as MediaTek and Elan, are poised to see robust growths in reenues from the Chromebook segment. ODM Wistron saw its notebook shipments spiked 52% on year in first-quarter 2021. The smatphone market is also recovering, and Apple is expected to adopt teh more power-efficient LTPO backplane technology for OLED displays in the premium models of its next-generation iPhone lineup.
IC substrate makers in Apple's iPhone supply chain are aggressively bracing for production of BT-based AiP (antenna in package) substrates expecting a surge in demand for new iPhones in 2021, according to industry sources.
Smartphone-use lens module maker Largan Precision expects delays of at least one month for its shipments due to short supply of CMOS image sensors and application processors, according to company CEO Lin En-ping.
MediaTek and Qualcomm may be the dominant players in the 5G smartphone SoC sector, but Chinese phone vendors Oppo and Xiaomi are mounting a challenge by developing their own chips. Shortages plaguing the semidoncutor industry are sending firms scrambling for supply. NOR flash chipmakers say that more of their clients are now willing to strike long-term supply contracts. For backend firms, demand from MCU clients remains robust.
Oppo and Xiaomi will introduce their in-house-developed sub-6GHz 5G chip solutions between late 2021 and early 2022, joining fabless chipmaker Unisoc in competing against chip vendors such as Qualcomm and MediaTek, according to industry sources in Taiwan.
Vietnam has joined the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), and has signed FTAs (free-trade agreements) with the EU and the UK. These deals have positioned Vietnam as a preferred location for manufacturers seeking to disperse their capacity deployments amid the US-China trade disputes.
Despite recent speculation about decreasing demand from Apple for semiconductor manufacturing services, the latest news from the supply chain has indicated TSMC will start shipping chips for the next-generation iPhones by the end of May ahead of schedule, with the foundry set to see major increases in output from its advanced processes. The Taiwanese foundry has also recently obtained rush orders from Qualcomm for making the US client's high-end 5G chips. For wireless connectivity, Digitimes recently interviewed Ignion CEO Carles Puente to learn more about the company's Virtual Antenna - a small off-the-shelf antenna booster that he says simplies the design of devices and shorten their time-to-market.
Fractus Antennas, formed by engineers who invented the technology allowing smartphone antennas to automatically switch between different bandwidth networks and launched mini-antennas for the Internet of Things (IoT) era, has recently rebranded itself as Ignion.
TSMC and Qualcomm reportedly are moving to further cement their ties, with the pure-play foundry agreeing to fabricate a batch of rush orders of high-end 5G chips for the US chipmaker, according to industry sources.
Global shipments of flexible AMOLED panels for foldable smartphone applications are likely to reach over 12 million units in 2021, driven by new foldable devices launched by handset brands, according to industry sources.
Taiwan-based IC design houses, particularly those specializing in smartphone-use chip solutions, are expected to post impressive sales results for March 2021, thanks to robust demand from Android-based smartphone makers, according to industry sources.
Smartphones released by first-tier brands in India in 2020 were mostly models priced below INR15,000 (US$205), showing the purchasing power of Indian consumers is still rather weak, according to Digitimes Research's latest study on India's smartphone market.
Many handset and component manufacturers that have participated in India's five-year production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme have urged the Indian government to push back the program's timeline by a year as pandemic-induced impacts have disrupted their production targets.
TSMC subsidiary VisEra Technology, which offers image sensor foundry, wafer-level testing and wafer-level optical film services, is expected to land orders for customized wafer-level thin films needed to support production of ambient light sensors (ALS) for 2021 iPhones, according to industry sources.
In 2020, MediaTek's chipset shipments to the major smartphone OEMs reached 351.8 million units, compared to 238 million units the company supplied in 2019, according to Omdia. MediaTek's volumes increased by 113.8 million units or 47.8% on year in 2020, with a 27.2% market share compared with 17.2% in 2019.
Apply's supply chain has started production for next-generation AirPods. Backend service supplier ASE Technology is packaging and testing optical sensors for new AirPods expected to launch in third-quarter 2021. Amid serious shortages of chipmaking capacity, pure-play foundry house PSMC has broken ground for a new 12-inch fab in northern Taiwan. Semiconductor costs are rising, and makers must be eager to find out whether they are having the best prices. Digitimes recently talked to Lytica chairman Ken Bradley to find out how his Canada-based company's SaaS service helps clients make better deals when buying or selling components.
Taiwan's PCB makers in the supply chain of AirPods are prepared to kick off mass production of flexible PCB (FPCB) and SiP substrates for the third-generation AirPods slated to be launched in the third quarter, according to industry sources.