updated 01:10 pm EDT, Thu September 8, 2011
Supplier prepping for 28nm chip production
TSMC will be ready to mass-produce 28nm chips beginning in early 2012, says the supplier's research and development head, Shang-yi Chiang. Chiang elaborates that the company has already received enough orders to fully exploit its new 28nm capacity. At least some of the orders are likely to be for a next-generation Apple processor, the A6.
TSMC was recently reported as beginning trial production of the A6 using a 28nm design. An early 2012 rollout would put the chipsets just in time for the iPad 3, which is generally forecast to ship in March or April, in keeping with the launch windows of the first two iPads. Because of TSMC's limited capacity, it is unlikely to be the only A6 manufacturer.
The iPad 3 is expected to include features like a 2048x1536 display, and a thinner and lighter battery, especially important given the size of current iPad batteries relative to the rest of the hardware. For TSMC, long-term plans including beginning research on 14nm assembly in 2012. Bulk production is, however, only anticipated to start in 2015.