[News] Apple Reportedly Places Large Orders for TSMC’s 3nm While Simultaneously Securing Significant Advanced Packaging Capacity

2024-02-15 Semiconductors editor

Apple’s product line is rumored to set for a significant upgrade. According to a report from Economic Daily News, the next-generation M4 and A18 processors, slated for iPads, MacBooks, and iPhones, are expected to increase the number of built-in AI computing cores, leading to a substantial growth in orders to TSMC. Consequently, TSMC’s production volume for its enhanced 3-nanometer process this year is forecasted to surge by over 50% compared to last year.

As per a report cited by the Economic Daily News, Apple, recognizing the significant AI trend, is not only significantly enhancing the AI computing power of the M3 and A17 processors this year, but also increasing the number and efficiency of AI computing cores in the next-generation M4 and A18 processors. The AI application adoption rate across all product lines is expected to greatly increase.

Apple is strengthening the AI computing performance of its terminal devices and significantly increasing the computational power of its in-house processors, resulting in a simultaneous substantial increase in orders to TSMC.

The report further cited sources indicating that Apple’s orders for TSMC’s enhanced 3nm process this year are rumored to increase by over 50% compared to last year, solidifying its position as TSMC’s largest customer.

In addition to increasing orders for TSMC’s wafer production, reportedly, Apple has also secured a significant amount of advanced packaging capacity from TSMC. Industry sources cited by the Economic Daily News has indicated that Apple primarily places orders with TSMC for advanced packaging processes such as InFO and CoWoS, which are 2.5D advanced packaging technologies.

This year, there is a possibility that Apple will push its advanced packaging requirements to the highest price and difficulty level, such as the 3D structure SoIC advanced packaging.

TSMC, reportedly, is expanding its production capacity for the 3nm family and advanced packaging this year to meet the large orders from major clients such as Apple, NVIDIA, and AMD in the coming years.

As per TrendForce’s data, the 3nm process alone contributed 6% to TSMC’s Q3 revenue, with advanced processes (≤7nm) accounting for nearly 60% of its total revenue.

TSMC had previously announced during its earnings call that its capital budget for this year is expected to fall between USD 28 billion to USD 32 billion, with 70% to 80% allocated for advanced processes, 10% to 20% for specialty processes, and the remaining 10% for advanced packaging, testing, and mask production.

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(Photo credit: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from Economic Daily News,