Another series of new iPhone will arrive later this year and inside, there will be a feat of miniaturization engineering. Within a piece of small chip, there won’t only be the main processor, but also RAM and modem. Manufactured using the 5nm technology, the A14 SoC will be very efficient in doing its job. One of the leading chipmaker in China, TMSC, will begin the production of the A14 5nm SoC in Q2 2020 for Apple’s newest mobile devices. The current A13 Bionic SoC is based on the 7nm process, also the same used for the previous A12 Bionic. Obviously, further miniaturization could result in extra challenges.
It will be harder to cram smaller transistors into the chip and yield from wafers will be lower. However, it is said that TSMC will produce the 5nm processors by the millions and it may mean that the production process is already mature enough. When doing miniaturization, chipmakers have two choices. They can use the same processor size and cram more transistors for higher performance. The other option is to maintain performance, so they can make chips smaller and more efficient. The choice depends on the purposes and market demands. Often, they just choose the middle ground, by increasing performance and efficiency, although not by a very wide margin.
In short, we could be certain that the upcoming A14 Bionic chip will be a beast and expectations about it are getting sky high. We could also be certain that Apple will create new iOS versions that can utilize the power of the chip in a meaningful way. Of course, the 5nm isn’t only reserved for Apple. Huawei will also get a different 5nm processor model for its future smartphones. But, exactly how significant of a leap these 5nm chips will be, can only be assured when prototypes device have been tested and first benchmark results pop out. It will be interesting to compare future 5nm chips with the current A13 Bionic and Snapdragon 865.
Apple has committed an investment of $25 billion in 5nm manufacturing technology and this will become the new standard for the coming years, before new miniaturization level is made possible. In 2020, Apple will release five new iPhone models. The first one will be the more affordable iPhone SE2 with 4.7-inch display, followed by four 5G-capable models with OLED display – one with 5.-inch, two with 6.1-inch and another with 6.7-inch displays.