TSMC is working on sequel to Apple’s celebrated A12 Bionic chip

Gather_Round_A12Bionic 2
TSMC is getting ready to start A13 chip production.
Photo: Apple

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will remain the exclusive iPhone chip supplier for the 2019 era iPhones, a new report confirms. TSMC has been making Apple’s A-series mobile chips since 2016, making it no surprise that the company would be offered the contract for yet another year.

The A13 chips will supposedly be made using TSMC’s 7 nanometer process, much like last year’s A12 chip was. Volume production is set to take place in the second quarter of the year.

Winning the orders from Apple is good news for TSMC, but it is still likely to have a challenging 2019 in some ways. Recently, a cutback in chip orders for Apple’s new iPhones was cited as one reason supplier the Taiwanese manufacturer posted disappointing earnings for the first quarter of 2019.

Digitimes notes that:

“Despite the optimism about its 7nm chip sales, TSMC expressed caution about the foundry’s overall operations citing factors on a macro level. The foundry expects 2019 to be ‘a slow year’ for its business and also the global chip sector. It forecasts that the foundry segment will register only flat growth.

The ups and downs of being an Apple supplier

Digitimes also posted several other stories concerning Apple suppliers today. One concerns two touch module suppliers for Apple reporting setbacks in the first quarter of 2019, “due largely to disappointing sales of iPhone XS and XR series products.” The report also hints that Apple could do away with its Force Touch pressure-sensing capabilities for the 2019 iPhone, which would hit touch module suppliers.

A separate report backs up the declining orders by noting a similar phenomenon for PCB (printed circuit board) makers in Apple’s supply chain. These are said to have been, “plagued by lackluster iPhone sales.

Finally, another story reports that shipments of MacBooks may fall in 2019, while AirPods and Apple Watch will “pick up significantly on the availability of new models.”

Cult of Mac