Apple Cuts Down Chip Orders with TSMC

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TSMC, the world’s largest foundry, and Samsung are the only companies mass-producing chips using their 3nm process nodes. TSMC’s largest customer is Apple, which accounts for around a quarter of its revenue. However, due to the overall weakness of the global economy and the aftermath of last year’s chip shortage, some major brands have been cancelling orders placed earlier with TSMC, including Apple.

According to a tipster on Weibo, Apple has reduced its orders with TSMC by as many as 120,000 wafers. The cancelled orders were for chips that would be made using TSMC’s N7, N5, N4, and even some N3 nodes.

Despite this, TSMC still has a full-order book with big names like Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Nvidia reserving production capacity for 2023 and 2024. Intel has agreed to delay its 3nm orders to give Apple most of the 3nm production capacity later this year.

TSMC is expected to go to Gate-All-Around (GAA) for its 2nm production in 2025-2026, although it still uses FinFET for 3nm production. The report also notes that Intel will take process leadership from TSMC and Samsung by 2025 thanks to the use of RibbonFET transistors and PowerVia or backside power delivery, as well as high numeric aperture Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV).

The decrease in Apple’s orders with TSMC can be attributed to the current global economic weakness and the aftermath of last year’s chip shortage. Nevertheless, TSMC remains the leader in chip-making, and it may launch its enhanced 3nm process node (N3E) this year. Intel is expected to take over the process leadership from TSMC and Samsung by 2025, utilizing RibbonFET transistors and the PowerVia feature. As the chip-making industry continuously evolves, it will be fascinating to observe how these advancements will impact the sector in the future.

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