TSMC Will Only Start Shipping Apple A6 Chips in the Second Quarter of 2012

TSMC's 28nm Fabrication Process May Slow Down Introduction of Apple A6 Chips, Powered Devices

by Anton Shilov
08/15/2011 | 10:40 PM

Although Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company stresses that the yield of chips made using its 28nm process technology is fairly high and its customers are unwilling to utilize the manufacturing process due to slowing economy, it looks like Apple decided to create a new revision of its A6 system-on-chip before initiating mass production in Q1 2012.


The Apple A6 system-on-chip (SoC) is believed to be Apple's next-generation processor with four ARM cores and PowerVR graphics engine that is projected to power the company's next-generation iPad media tablet as well as iPhone smartphone. The chip is projected to be made using 28nm fabrication process and use 3D stacking technology at TSMC. Unfortunately, Apple needs to respin the design, a process which will not allow Apple to start mass production before the first quarter of 2012, according to the Taiwan Economic News cited by EETimes web-site.

Apparently, the use of a specialized silicon interposer and bump-on-trace interconnect may produce specific requirements in the main processor die, EETimes reports. As a result, TSMC will only be able to start making the chip in the first quarter of the year, which means that the SoCs will only become available in mass quantities in the second quarter. In general, it will delay the introduction of devices based on Apple A6.

TSMC itself said that its 28nm process technology node will contribute only 1% to the company's total wafer revenue in Q4 2011, which indirectly means that only Advanced Micro Devices will use the manufacturing technology this year.

Apple cannot produce A6 chips at both TSMC and Samsung Electronics, its long time manufacturing partner.

Apple and TSMC did not comment on the news-story.