Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has started production of a new chip for Apple Inc.’s next line of iPhones launching later this year, according to people familiar with the matter.
The processor, dubbed A13, went into early test production in April and mass-production is planned for as early as this month, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters.
As part of its annual iPhone refresh, Apple typically includes significant upgrades to the main processor, boosting speeds and battery life. The company’s chips are often ranked as top performers by analysts and technical websites. That helps set the iPhone apart from its Android-based competition, which relies heavily on Qualcomm Inc. processors. Some rivals, such as Samsung Electronics Co.\ and Huawei Technologies Co., have embraced Apple’s approach and now make phones using their own chips.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. TSMC spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun also declined to comment.
The U.S. company is extending its in-house design strategy: The iPhone is one of several Apple devices that include custom processors. The company designs similar parts for the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods and HomePod. It also makes specialized chips for Macs and is working on a main Mac processor to eventually replace those supplied by Intel Corp., Bloomberg News has reported.
Traditional central processors are not always the best solution for new tasks such as image and voice recognition. In recent years, Apple has added new components to its chips, including parts that handle graphics and machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence software. It’s also planning other new types of chips, including a cellular modem for making calls and connecting to the internet, and power components based on a recent deal with Dialog Semiconductor Plc. Read more