TSMC will begin mass production of the Apple A15 in May, according to supply chain sources in Asia. If we give truth to the information, we would confirm that the iPhone 13 would be available in September going back to the regular release schedule.
The Apple A15 will be the next mobile chipset to come out of the Cupertino factory, if we put aside the developments of the silicon project for Mac that are being developed in parallel and that Apple has to improve to cover higher-performance personal computers such as MacBook Pro and iMac. Mac Pros are something else and there is real interest in the industry to see how an SoC can replace a Xeon CPU and a professional GPU like NVIDIA’s Quadro.
Going back to mobile development, the information cites that It will not be a revolution, if not an evolution of the current Apple A14 Bionic with optimizations to increase performance and reduce power consumption. Surely Apple doesn’t need it either. Bionic is the most advanced chipset ever designed by Apple and the basis of the A14X, the first of the silicon for Mac.
How will the Apple A15
The TSMC foundry will produce the SoC using manufacturing processes of 5 nanometers, the most advanced in the industry. The die of the Apple A14 Bionic had an effective transistor density of just 78% using techniques like 3D stacked SRAM technology, leaving more room for logic and analog components. The design was obviously intended to be used by the A14X.
Apple will have enough space to add more, although we think it will repeat a typical design with:
- A Six-core CPU with two of them high-performance that could exceed 3 GHz.
- A GPU with at least four graphics cores.
- A security chip for a secure enclave.
- A digital signal processor (DSP).
- A neural processing unit of -at least- 16 cores.
- Other co-processors.
In terms of costs, it will no longer be possible to reduce the price per transistor. In technological manufacturing processes as advanced as 5 nanometers, the margin is much narrower than in previous advances.
As expected, the Apple A15 will be released on the iPhone 13, a series that will keep the current three versions and their screen sizes. Taking into account that its production will begin in May, Apple will have time to recover the launch schedule of its mobile line delayed last year due to the problems derived from the COVID pandemic.
We still have a lot to learn about Apple’s new processors, but they are sure to continue to lead the industry in terms of performance and energy efficiency. We do not believe that the addition of the own 5G modem and the component will be released in future developments to finally end the dependency on Qualcomm.