Apple will definitely use US chips made in TSMC’s Arizona plant, according to a new report today, which says that around a third of chips made there will be for the iPhone maker. Additionally, the plant’s capabilities will be boosted to 4nm chips, rather than the 5nm plans originally announced.
There have long been indications that Apple would be a key customer, and it appears that all doubt will be removed next week, as Tim Cook is said to be attending a TSMC event on Tuesday…
The Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) announced back in 2020 that it would be building a $12B chipmaking plant in Arizona. Construction of the main chip facility was completed in August, with production scheduled to begin in 2024.
It has so far been unclear whether the plant would make Apple chips. Apple helped lobby for subsidies for the plant, suggesting that this was indeed the plan. Others doubted this as the planned 5nm process would be too far behind Apple’s curve for its A-series and M-series processors. A later report suggested that the plant would instead use a 4nm process, but this would still lag behind Apple’s reported plans to switch to 3nm a year before production is scheduled to start.
TSMC subsequently confirmed plans for an additional 3nm plant, but again Apple is expected to have moved onto 2nm processes by the time this one opens.
Apple will use US chips
A new Bloomberg report says that Apple CEO Tim Cook will attend a ceremony on Tuesday, making things official.
Apple will use about a third of the output as production gets underway […] Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has previously told employees that his company plans to source chips from the Arizona plant. He is scheduled to attend the event next week.
Today’s report is slightly confusing, as it suggests that the plant will make Apple processors.
Apple and other major tech companies rely on TSMC for their chipmaking needs, and the change means they’ll be able to get more of their processors from the US.
‘Processors’ would normally refer to the CPU chip, which in Apple’s case would be the A-series and M-series primary processors for iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Based on current reports, neither plant would have the advanced capabilities needed for this. It seems this may be slightly sloppy language.
A previous Bloomberg report said that Apple would indeed be a customer, but only for less-sophisticated chips – and that this would primarily be for PR purposes, so Apple can say that it is using US-made chips.
You can just picture it now. It’s 2025 and Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has just taken the stage to announce the company’s latest gadget. It’s faster, more powerful, and in every way better than the previous iteration. And, one more thing: it features chips made in the US of A. The crowd applauds […]
What these factories are likely to offer is lesser components made using legacy manufacturing processes. [They will] likely to get orders for a couple of key chips used in lesser devices like AirPods, TV, HomePod or Watch.
The earlier report also noted that the capacity of the plant would effectively limit it to making token volumes of even these lesser chips.
Unnamed TSMC customer is said to want the chipmaker to bring its smallest processes to the US, but the Taiwanese company is said to be reluctant to do so.
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