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iPhone 14 chipmaker TSMC is struggling to get its US plant built

TSMC HQ
TSMC HQ (Image credit: TSMC)

What you need to know

  • TSMC's Arizona plant is having problems due to labor shortages and COVID-19.
  • Plans to get manufacturing hardware installed in Arizona have already been dealt a blow.
  • It's thought TSMC built a buffer into its opening timescales and might still be good to go, however.

TSMC, the company responsible for Apple's A-series and M-series chips is trying to get factory built in the United States, but it isn't proving as easy as first thought. A new report claims that the construction project is now as far a six months behind schedule.

TSMC is working to try and expand beyond Taiwan with a plant in Arizona previously hoped to be ready to receive chip production hardware in September of 2022. That now seems to be out the window, with March 2023 more likely according to sources speaking with Nikkei Asia.

Construction of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s first advanced chip plant in the U.S. is three to six months behind schedule, sources told Nikkei Asia, a sign that the world's biggest contract chipmaker is finding it more challenging to expand overseas than at home.

The facility, once complete, will be TSMC's most advanced outside of its home country with plants in China and Japan also either up and running already or set to begin construction. However, the Arizona plant is proving problematic due to labor shortages and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Complicated processes for obtaining the different types of licenses needed for construction was another factor," the report also notes.

TSMC is keen to nail down a timescale for getting production hardware in place so that it can then plan production timelines. The company already produces the iPhone 13 chips for example and will do so for the upcoming iPhone 14, too. The southern Taiwanese city of Tainan produces Apple's high-end iPhone chips currently and will likely do so for future iPhones, at least until more factories come online.

The same report does suggest that there might be a silver lining to this particular cloud, however. TSMC reportedly built a buffer into its timeframes and could still be able to begin production in schedule, despite recent delays.

Oliver Haslam
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.