The latest Apple iPhone production appears to have hit a severe supply crunch of the powerful next-generation A14 SoC that powers the iOS smartphone. The new System on a Chip (SoC) with advanced Neural Processing Engine was being manufactured on the advanced 5nm Fabrication Node. In addition to Apple’s own 5nm A14 SoC, the deployment of 5G telecommunications standard could also take a hit, with rollout of services expected to be pushed forward at least by two quarters.
The ongoing global pandemic has had some serious impact on the production of almost all critical and non-critical components that go into the modern-day electronics. While companies like Microsoft, Sony, and several other companies are trying to minimize the delays that will inevitably be caused due to the ongoing health crises, experts indicate that Apple Inc. is one of the worst impacted.
Apple Inc Apple iPhone’s A14 SoC Production Suffers But Huawei Well Prepared?
Taiwanese TSMC is undoubtedly one of the biggest semiconductor wafer manufacturers. Companies like AMD, NVIDIA, Intel, Microsoft, Sony, and many other big tech companies are directly or indirectly dependent and impacted by TSMC’s change in production schedules. The Taiwanese giant is among the select few companies that has the capabilities and infrastructure to reliably manufacture silicon wafers needed in the production of computer chips, processors, GPUs, etc.It appears that the mass production schedule of Apple’s 5nm A14 application processor will be postponed for one to two quarters. Consequentially, the rollout of the Apple iPhone 12 lineup will be delayed in equal proportions. Market analysts predict that TSMC’s third-quarter revenue performance may not be strong in the peak season, and the quarterly growth rate is expected to fall to single-digit percentages.
Strangely, TSMC ’s other big 5nm customer, Huawei HiSilicon, has not experienced the reduced number of wafers. The Chinese telecommunications and networking giant has merely “adjusted the production line”. This essentially means the TSMC’s customer has altered the priorities and now the production process will be utilized for making chips that drive the telecommunications equipment. In other words, TSMC’s 5nm production line will manufacture advanced next-generation chips that will be embedded inside 5G base stations. The company has apparently sacrificed the production of 5G enabled smartphone chips in favor of chips for networking equipment.
TSMC’s 5nm Fabrication Plant Impacting Rollout Of Apple iPhone A14 SoC But Not Huawei’s 5G Chips?
Reports indicated TSMC has completed the first and second phases of the Fab 18 plant, and the production line has also been completed and certified. New silicon wafers built on the 5nm Production Process will enter the mass production phase in the second quarter and will be used to build next-generation 5G for Apple and Huawei HiSilicon.
From @ElectronicsNews – 5G infrastructure alternatives to Huawei. China Mobile "somewhat surprisingly" supporting O-RAN? China Mobile co-founded O-RAN (as C-RAN before its merger with XRAN, so not surprising at all. All mobile operators want a more diverse supply base. pic.twitter.com/bUvxGvJf0k
— Peter Claydon (@PeterClaydon) March 25, 2020
According to industry experts, Apple will initially begin mass production of 5nm A14 application processors in May. However, owing to severe impact on production and assembly lines in China, the latest Apple iPhone 14 production is expected to be severely delayed. Apple ’s 5nm production volume in TSMC in the third quarter will be lower than originally expected, and the entire quarter is expected to reduce the production volume by more than 30,000. However, reports strongly indicate that Apple hasn’t canceled any orders.