TSMC isn't backing down from iPhone 15 chip hike, despite Apple opposition

Apple A16 chip
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple chipmaker TSMC is reportedly determined to forge ahead with a price hike starting January 1, 2023. That despite opposition from Apple and other customers.

Apple is TSMC's biggest customer with the chipmaker behind the silicon that runs iPhones, Macs, iPads, and more. Now, Economic Daily News says that opposition  "has not dampened TSMC's determination to insist on increasing prices."

Going up!

It's reported that TSMC intends to increase the price of 8-inch silicon wafers by 6%, with 12-inch wafers seeing an increase by 3%. It isn't clear what impact that would have on Apple's bottom line, but the report notes that it has already rejected TSMC's price hike, and it might not be alone. "Another major customer, Huida, intends to follow" Apple's lead, the report goes on to say.

While few companies tend to stand up to Apple, it's thought that TSMC is one of the few capable of doing so — and as a result, insisting on a new price for chips made from January 1. "An unnamed senior executive in the domestic IC design industry pointed out that TSMC is the "most powerful" wafer foundry in the industry, and it is more capable of bargaining than Apple," the report says, adding that others have already agreed to the new pricing.

TSMC is responsible for producing the chips that power the latest iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro and these new prices could affect the 2023 model, likely called iPhone 15. If that's the case, it's possible Apple be faced with a decision — push the increased cost onto buyers, or have it eat into profits.

The move comes as TSMC President Wei Zhejia admitted that demand for phones, computers, and consumer eletronics is weak. However, demand for parts that go into cars and data centers remains stable. If Apple ever does get the Apple Car into production, we can likely expect plenty of TSMC to be inside.

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.