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Equipped with the latest mobile processor from the chip foundries of TSMC, Apple’s next smartphone could be the fastest when it’s released. The microprocessor industry is moving into the 7nm manufacturing process. Samsung has also kickstarted a new production for its chipsets. Using EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography, it’s easier to produce second generation 7nm chips. This process ensures better yields and less masks for production. This will make each individual chip less expensive to manufacture on average. The current Apple iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 have 10nm processors.
With EUV silicon process, it’s possible to achieve 40 percent smaller footprint and it’s 20 percent faster as well. The process is significantly more efficient with up to 50 percent of reduction in power draw. Samsung is expecting to become the leader in 7nm chip manufacturing process. The A12 chipset for the iPhone XS already uses 7nm process, but TSMC will produce the future A13 chipset with the improved 7nm EUV method. So, unless Samsung uses a different processor for its Galaxy Note 10, it’s possible that the iPhone 11 will be the first smartphone with enhanced 7nm processor.
The improved manufacturing process may result in better performance and lower power draw. The current Apple A12 chipset offers more performance, even if it has similar power draw to the competing chipsets. Today, mobile processors are already sufficiently powerful and designers are focusing on longer battery life. EUV method saves some space inside the smartphone and it could be used for other useful components. In fact, TSMC announced that they are sampling a 5nm process, which will be available next year. TSMC also has 6nm process as a stopgap method and Samsung is currently tooling a new EUV production line at 5nm.