What you need to know

  • A-series chipmaker TSMC CEO confirmed the company is doubling down on efforts to expand 5nm chip manufacturing.
  • Among the benefits of the new 5nm chip would be better performance and 5G and AI integration.
  • The company aims to deliver a consistent slate of 5nm chips in 2020.
  • This might suggest the 2020 iPhone could be the first smartphone to offer a 5nm chip.

Apple's next major step in its A-series processor appears to be closer than we originally thought. Just last year, Apple introduced the first-ever 7nm chip with the A12 Bionic processor, powering the iPhone to unforeseen levels of performance, and its successor could be introduced as soon as next year.

It's not yet clear exactly what Apple will do with the iPhone in 2020, but one popular rumor is a 5nm chip. That rumor got a little push by none other than the company responsible for making Apple's chips: TSMC. The chipmaker TSMC CEO (via Digitimes) announced the company is doubling down on 5nm chips:

Because of strong demand for 5G-related solutions from some major clients, Ho continued, the pure-play foundry's capex this year will outpace the high end of its previously-estimated US$10-11 billion. TSMC plans to spend more to expand further its 7nm process production capacity and build up capacity for its newer 5nm node, according to Ho.

TSMC has become "a little bit more aggressive" with regards to its 5nm production ramp-up, said company CEO CC Wei during a Q&A session at the investors conference. The foundry is on track to move the node to volume production in the first half of 2020. An acceleration in the worldwide 5G development will lead to an increase in demand for TSMC's 5nm and 7nm processes, Wei believes.

This of course opens up the world to better 5G and AI integration, but the better question would be when we would see it on the market. It just set 2020 as the target date, possibly alluding to the iPhone getting this new processor.

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Apple has already made clear that the 2020 iPhone will be the model to truly add 5G compatibility to its smartphone. With a 5nm chip, Apple could kill two birds with one stone and in the process outfitting its latest iPhone with the most cutting edge processor.

That's all hearsay at this point. We don't won't know for months what Apple will do with the iPhone next year. However, this would be a great job of differentiating it from the other alternatives out there.

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