A14 with 5 nm, A15 as an intermediate step, A16 with 4 nm
For the generation between the A14 and the A16, an intermediate step is planned to use TSMC’s “5nm +” technology for manufacturing the wafers. Said chips should then come on the market in the coming year and make their debut in the iPhone and iPad or possibly in the Mac. In the past few years, it was possible to reduce the structure width with every second chip generation. These clear advances are considered to be one reason why Apple was able to both increase performance in such a way, but at the same time realize very low energy requirements for the chips.
TSMC currently only supplies 5 nm for Apple
Incidentally, Apple is currently TSMC’s only customer who purchases chips using the 5 nm process. Huawei actually wanted to rely on TSMC’s expertise, but the US sanctions thwarted the plans. In the case of the 4 nm chips, Qualcomm is said to be the new client ready to have future Snapdragon chips, such as those found in many Android smartphones, manufactured by TSMCs. Just recently there were rumors that even Intel is considering hiring TSMC for certain processors. However, as we discussed in this article, such plans are given little chance. In the coming year, Intel will still not succeed in switching from 14 nm to smaller structure widths for the majority of chips – however, it is not possible to exactly compare Intel and TSMCs nm counting.