Apple chipmaker TSMC to resume production following devastating Taiwan earthquake

TSMC factory
(Image credit: Getty Images / Future Publishing)

Following the news that Apple chipmaker TSMC had been forced to suspend manufacturing and evacuate its employees as a result of Taiwan's strongest earthquake in 25 years, the company is now ready to get things back underway. TSMC is said to be ready to restart production just a day after it was suspended.

The 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the island's east coast and is rated to be the strongest to impact Taiwan since 1999. At the time, TSMC said that its "safety systems are operating normally" before adding that "to ensure the safety of personnel, some fabs were evacuated according to company procedure. We are currently confirming the details of the impact.”

Now, it's reported that production is once again ready to get underway, something that will no doubt be music to the ears of TSMC's high-profile companies including Apple. The company is responsible for producing the chips that power all of Apple's best iPhones, laptops, and tablets not to mention the Apple Vision Pro spatial computing headset. With Apple thought to be working on an international launch, it'll surely need all the chips it can get.

The show goes on

Bloomberg reports that TSMC has reported that there was no damage to its most critical tools as a result of the earthquake, including its extreme ultraviolet lithography tools. It was confirmed that a small number of tools were damaged at some of the company's facilities but that resources had already been deployed in order to get things operational.

However, while production might be ready to get underway once more, that doesn't necessarily mean that everything will continue as normal.

"Some of the high-end chips need 24/7 seamless operations in a vacuum state for a few weeks,” analysts Bum Ki Son and Brian Tan reportedly said. “Operation halts in Taiwan’s northern industrial areas could mean some high-end chips in production may be spoiled." It's thought that even a single vibration can be enough to destroy batches of semiconductors, although TSMC did say that its precautions had done their job.

In wider Taiwan, the BBC reports that rescuers are still working to reach more than 600 stranded people with one survivor saying that the tremors caused rockslides "like bullets" around a local coal mine. It's thought that nine people have been killed and more than 1,000 have been injured as a result of the quake.

Apple has a number of high-profile products expected to launch in the coming months and TSMC will be vital to all of them. The company is expected to launch the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro devices in September, both powered by new TSMC chips. It's also thought that Apple will unveil the new Apple Watch X and a refreshed Apple Watch Ultra at the same time, too.

Much sooner, Apple is expected to unveil a new OLED iPad Pro and refreshed iPad Air powered by TSMC's M3 and M2 silicon, respectively. Any new Macs that Apple announces will also be powered by chips produced by TSMC, too.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.