TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Apple is looking to have Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) produce its 5G iPhone modem chips from 2023.
The move comes as Apple has been attempting to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm, which currently makes all the modem components for the latest iPhones, according to Nikkei.
Apple plans to produce its first in-house 5G modem chip using TSMC’s 4nm process technology, in addition to developing its own radio frequency and millimeter wave components to work with the modem, sources told Nikkei. The company is also designing its own power management chip for the modem, sources told the outlet.
Designing its own modem would help Apple integrate TSMC’s silicon with its TSMC-made mobile processors, thereby giving the Cupertino-based company more control over hardware integration and boosting chip efficiency, per the report.
Sources told Nikkei that Apple is using TSMC’s 5nm chip production to design and test-produce the new 5G iPhone modem and will then use TSMC’s 4nm process for mass production. The new modem chips are expected to be ready for market by 2023.
Apple is also planning to use TSMC’s 4nm chips for iPhone processors in the latter half of 2022, while it will also be one of the first to use the Taiwanese company’s 3nm chips for its iPads next year, Nikkei said. Sources told the outlet Apple is also working to use TSMC’s next-generation 3nm chips for iPhone processors as early as 2023.