Don't expect US-made iPhone chips despite new Arizona plant, Bloomberg says

Apple iPhone 14 in store
(Image credit: Apple)

TSMC's impending Arizona chip plant is expected to be up and running in the next couple of years, but don't expect any iPhones to use parts made by it. At least not for a little while yet.

According to a new report, SMC's new factory won't have the capacity to build chips for Apple's most popular product. Instead, it's thought that chips coming out of Arizona will find their way into less important products, including Apple Watch, AirPods, and Apple TV devices.

Made in the USA

Apple will no doubt make plenty of noise about the ability to build some of its chips in the United States over the next couple of years, with Bloomberg (opens in new tab) noting that it's already doing so. CEO Tim Cook reportedly told employees in Germany that the company "already made a decision to be buying out of a plant in Arizona, and this plant in Arizona starts up in '24." And while Cook stopped short of naming names, TSMC is the one everyone expects he was talking about.

However, Bloomberg notes that the new Arizona TSMC plant will only be able to produce around 20,000 wafers of silicon chips per month. And that isn't enough to dent Apple's requirements. For comparison's sake, TSMC currently builds 1.3 million wafers every month — the Arizona plant will make up less than 1.6% of the company's global wafer production.

Instead, the report believes that Apple's other products will get the "Made in the USA' treatment. "More likely it'll get orders for a couple of key chips used in lesser devices like AirPods, TV, HomePod or Watch," the report says.

It will be some time before TSMC can build chips for Apple's best iPhones in the United States, but at least some manufacturing will be on its home turf by the time that factory comes online.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

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.