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Press Releases
Shipment of Apple's Mini LED iPad Pro Expected to Reach Five Million Units in 2021 Thanks to Improved Display Technology, Says TrendForce

2021/04/21

LED

During Apple’s Spring Loaded event, the Cupertino company announced the upcoming release of its latest 129-inch iPad Pro models featuring Mini LED display technology According to TrendForce’s latest investigations, demand for the 129-inch iPad Pro has already been relatively high in the niche markets Thus, given the thorough improvement in specs as well as the very slight price hike of merely $100 over the previous generation, TrendForce is not only revising up its shipment forecast for the 2021 version of the 12-inch iPad Pro from four million units to five million units this year, but also expecting this product to account for a 31% share in the global tablet market, compared to the previous forecast of 25% TrendForce analyst Max Chen indicates three key areas of observation with respect to Apple’s latest flagship tablet: technology cost, retail price, and product spec First, in terms of technology cost, the Mini LED backlight used in the new 129-inch iPad Pro costs about US$85 more than the traditional edge-lit LED backlight used in the previous generation Second, in terms of retail price, the entry-level 128GB model of the 129-inch Mini LED iPad Pro retails for $1,099, which is only $100 higher than the equivalent model of the previous generation As such, the price hike in the latest model is, for the most part, a result of the increased cost of Mini LED backlights, rather than wholly being an attempt at driving up profit margins The modest price hike is therefore an indication of Apple’s desire to become the gold standard in the tablet market by adopting Mini LED backlight technology Finally, in terms of product spec, the latest 129-inch Mini LED iPad Pro is equipped with Apple’s high-end Liquid Retina XDR technology, which gives the tablet a max full-screen brightness of 1,000 nits, peak brightness of 1,600 nits, and contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, with the peak brightness and contrast ratio both being firsts in the tablet industry Furthermore, it should be pointed out that the latest tablet is equipped with 10,384 Mini LED chips, divided into 2,596 dimming zones, giving it additional high contrast and high color saturation performance that is superior to the 315-inch iMac, which features 512 backlight dimming zones and is the first product to feature Apple's XDR display technology With regards to Apple’s plans for 2H21, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook models will likewise feature Mini LED backlight technology, which will become the hardware benchmark for high-end tablets and notebook computers The release of Apple’s Mini LED-equipped tablets is expected to galvanize a growth against market headwinds for upstream and downstream companies in the Mini LED supply chain, including Mini LED chip suppliers (eg, Ennostar), testing and sorting service suppliers (eg, FitTech, Saultech, and YTEC), SMT suppliers (eg, TSMT and Yenrich), backplane PCB suppliers (eg, Zhen Ding Tech and Tripod Technology), driver IC suppliers (eg, Parade, Novatek, and Macroblock), and light source module suppliers (eg, Radiant/ROE and GIS) For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforcecom

Press Releases
DRAM Prices Projected to Rise by 18-23% QoQ in 2Q21 Owing to Peak Season Demand, Says TrendForce

2021/04/20

Semiconductors

TrendForce’s investigations find that DRAM suppliers and major PC OEMs are currently participating in the critical period of negotiating with each other over contract prices for 2Q21 Although these negotiations have yet to be finalized, the ASP of mainstream DDR4 1G*8 2666Mbps modules has already increased by nearly 25% QoQ as of now, according to data on ongoing transactions This represents a higher price hike than TrendForce's prior forecast of “nearly 20%” On the other hand, prices are likewise rising across various DRAM product categories in 2Q21, including DDR3/4 specialty DRAM, mobile DRAM, graphics DRAM, and in particular server DRAM, which is highly related to PC DRAM and is therefore also undergoing a higher price hike than previously expected TrendForce is therefore revising up its forecast of overall DRAM price hike for 2Q21 from 13-18% QoQ to 18-23% QoQ instead However, the actual increase in prices of various DRAM product categories will depend on the production capacities allocated to the respective products by DRAM suppliers PC DRAM prices are now expected to undergo a 23-28% QoQ growth in 2Q21 due to the increased production of notebook computers PC DRAM contract prices are rising by a higher margin than previously expected for 2Q21 primarily because major PC OEMs are now aggressively expanding their production targets Furthermore, as second quarters are generally peak seasons for notebook production, PC ODMs are now estimated to increase their quarterly production of notebook computers by about 79% QoQ in 2Q21 Finally, with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination rates remain relatively low across the globe, meaning WFH and distance education are likely to persist and create continued demand for notebook computers, thereby further expanding the hike in PC DRAM prices DRAM Suppliers will enjoy increased bargaining power in price negotiations as server DRAM prices are expected to increase by 20-25% QoQ in 2Q21 Apart from the issue of short DRAM supply, server DRAM procurement in 2Q21 has benefitted from the positive turn in the view of enterprises toward IT investments as well as the stronger-than-expected demand related to cloud migration There was already a supply gap in 1Q21, and these developments will further drive up demand in 2Q21 Hence, difficulty has increased for buyers and suppliers in reaching an agreement on price Suppliers are in a more advantageous position in contract negotiations since the DRAM market is an oligopoly Therefore, compared to the previous forecast of nearly 20%, TrendForce is now expecting server DRAM contract prices to increase by 20-25% QoQ in 2Q21 For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforcecom

Press Releases
GCP, AWS Projected to Become Main Drivers of Global Server Demand with 25-30% YoY Increase in Server Procurement, Says TrendForce

2021/04/19

Semiconductors

Thanks to their flexible pricing schemes and diverse service offerings, CSPs have been a direct, major driver of enterprise demand for cloud services, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations As such, the rise of CSPs have in turn brought about a gradual shift in the prevailing business model of server supply chains from sales of traditional branded servers (that is, server OEMs) to ODM Direct sales instead Incidentally, the global public cloud market operates as an oligopoly dominated by North American companies including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which collectively possess an above-50% share in this market More specifically, GCP and AWS are the most aggressive in their data center build-outs Each of these two companies is expected to increase its server procurement by 25-30% YoY this year, followed closely by Azure TrendForce indicates that, in order to expand the presence of their respective ecosystems in the cloud services market, the aforementioned three CSPs have begun collaborating with various countries’ domestic CSPs and telecom operators in compliance with data residency and data sovereignty regulations For instance, thanks to the accelerating data transformation efforts taking place in the APAC regions, Google is ramping up its supply chain strategies for 2021 As part of Google’s efforts at building out and refreshing its data centers, not only is the company stocking up on more weeks’ worth of memory products, but it has also been increasing its server orders since 4Q20, in turn leading its ODM partners to expand their SMT capacities As for AWS, the company has benefitted from activities driven by the post-pandemic new normal, including WFH and enterprise cloud migrations, both of which are major sources of data consumption for AWS’ public cloud Conversely, Microsoft Azure will adopt a relatively more cautious and conservative approach to server procurement, likely because the Ice Lake-based server platforms used to power Azure services have yet to enter mass production In other words, only after these Ice Lake servers enter mass production will Microsoft likely ramp up its server procurement in 2H21, during which TrendForce expects Microsoft’s peak server demand to take place, resulting in a 10-15% YoY growth in server procurement for the entirety of 2021 Finally, compared to its three competitors, Facebook will experience a relatively more stable growth in server procurement owing to two factors First, the implementation of GDPR in the EU and the resultant data sovereignty implications mean that data gathered on EU residents are now subject to their respective country’s legal regulations, and therefore more servers are now required to keep up the domestic data processing and storage needs that arise from the GDPR Secondly, most servers used by Facebook are custom spec’ed to the company’s requirements, and Facebook’s server needs are accordingly higher than its competitors’ As such, TrendForce forecasts a double-digit YoY growth in Facebook’s server procurement this year Chinese CSPs are limited in their pace of expansions, while Tencent stands out with a 10% YoY increase in server demand On the other hand, Chinese CSPs are expected to be relatively weak in terms of server demand this year due to their relatively limited pace of expansion and service areas Case in point, Alicloud is currently planning to procure the same volume of servers as it did last year, and the company will ramp up its server procurement going forward only after the Chinese government implements its new infrastructure policies Tencent, which is the other dominant Chinese CSP, will benefit from increased commercial activities from domestic online service platforms, including JD, Meituan, and Kuaishou, and therefore experience a corresponding growth in its server colocation business; Tencent’s demand for servers this year is expected to increase by about 10% YoY Baidu will primarily focus on autonomous driving projects this year There will be a slight YoY increase in Baidu’s server procurement for 2021, mostly thanks to its increased demand for roadside servers used in autonomous driving applications Finally, with regards to Bytedance, its server procurement will undergo a 10-15% YoY decrease since it will look to adopt colocation services rather than run its own servers in the overseas markets due to its shrinking presence in those markets Looking ahead, TrendForce believes that as enterprise clients become more familiar with various cloud services and related technologies, the competition in the cloud market will no longer be confined within the traditional segments of computing, storage, and networking infrastructure The major CSPs will pay greater attention to the emerging fields such as edge computing as well as the software-hardware integration for the related services With the commercialization of 5G services that is taking place worldwide, the concept of “cloud, edge, and device” will replace the current “cloud” framework This means that cloud services will not be limited to software in the future because cloud service providers may also want to offer their branded hardware in order to make their solutions more comprehensive or all-encompassing Hence, TrendForce expects hardware to be the next battleground for CSPs For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforcecom

Press Releases
Impact of Power Outage on TSMC Fab14 P7 Still Remaining Under Assessment, with Production of Automotive MCU and CIS Logic Products Hit Hardest, Says TrendForce

2021/04/15

Semiconductors

TSMC’s Fab14 P7 in the Southern Taiwan Science Park suffered a power outage on April 14th The cause of the power outage was an accidental severing of an underground power cable during construction work nearby According to TrendForce’s latest investigations, the facility accounts for around 4% of TSMC’s total 12-inch wafer foundry capacity and around 2% of the global 12-inch wafer foundry capacity, and TSMC is still assessing the exact figures for the wafers that have to be scrapped and the wafers that can be reworked According to the latest available information, power was fully restored to the fab site at 7:30 pm on April 14th The diesel uninterruptible power supply (DUPS) of the facility kicked in instantly when the power cable was cut, but there was still a short period of power interruption and voltage drop As a result, some of the equipment systems in the facility temporarily experienced operational irregularity or malfunction Based on past experiences with this type of incident, TrendForce believes that it will take 2-7 days to recalibrate the equipment systems so that they can return to normal operation For TSMC, this power outage incident has had implications on both revenue and production With respect to revenue, TrendForce’s own analysis indicates that the disposal of the wafers that are too damaged for rework will bring about a revenue impact of US$10-25 million This amount represents less than 01% of TSMC’s annual total revenue On the other hand, with respect to production, the Fab14 P7 facilities contain 45/40nm and 16/12nm production lines, and the outage will primarily impair end products including smartphones and automobiles, since automotive chips, which are in extreme shortage at the moment, are manufactured at the 45/40nm nodes, and 45/40nm capacities are among the most insufficient among all foundry capacities TrendForce further indicates that clients whose wafer inputs for automotive MCU and CIS logic products (manufactured at the 45/40nm nodes) are bearing the brunt of the outage’s impact mainly include NXP, Renesas, and Sony In particular, Sony CIS 40nm Logic products are primarily supplied for high-end smartphones However, as Sony manufactures these products in its in-house facilities as well, even if TSMC were to fully discard this batch of wafers, Sony’s supplies will remain relatively unaffected in the short run On the other hand, after the automotive market entered a gradual recovery in 2H20, automotive MCUs have been in shortage due to automakers’ insufficient inventory Furthermore, a fire broke out at Renesas’ Naka-based 12-inch fab on March 19, and the fab’s cleanrooms were severely damaged as a result As of now, manufacturing operations at the Naka fab have yet to resume Since TSMC has been allocating some of its production capacities in Fab14 to these products as a substitute for the Naka fab, TrendForce believes that the power outage incident will likely exacerbate the shortage of automotive MCUs going forward For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforcecom

Press Releases
Foundry Revenue Projected to Reach Historical High of US$94.6 Billion in 2021 Thanks to High 5G/HPC/End-Device Demand, Says TrendForce

2021/04/15

Semiconductors

As the global economy enters the post-pandemic era, technologies including 5G, WiFi6/6E, and HPC (high-performance computing) have been advancing rapidly, in turn bringing about a fundamental, structural change in the semiconductor industry as well, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations While the demand for certain devices such as notebook computers and TVs underwent a sharp uptick due to the onset of the stay-at-home economy, this demand will return to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic has been brought under control as a result of the global vaccination drive Nevertheless, the worldwide shift to next-gen telecommunication standards has brought about a replacement demand for telecom and networking devices, and this demand will continue to propel the semiconductor industry, resulting in high capacity utilization rates across the major foundries As certain foundries continue to expand their production capacities this year, TrendForce expects total foundry revenue to reach a historical high of US$946 billion this year, an 11% growth YoY TrendForce’s latest analysis also finds that shipments and production volumes of end products will continue to grow in the post-pandemic period Regarding host computers, the total (or global) shipments of servers and workstations are forecasted to undergo a yearly growth mainly driven by applications that are enabled by 5G and HPC As for various types of client (or end-user) devices, the annual total production volume of 5G smartphones, in particular, is forecasted to increase by around 113% YoY The penetration rate of 5G models in the smartphone market is also forecasted to rise to 37% in the same year Turning to notebook (or laptop) computers, their total shipments in 2021 will register a YoY growth rate of about 15% thanks to the proliferation of the stay-at-home economy Finally, the governments of many countries introduced consumption subsidies during the pandemic so as to stimulate the domestic economy Video streaming services have also grown dramatically with respect to content and demand because of the pandemic As a result, the TV market is seeing a wave of replacement demand as consumers want to purchase the latest models that offer higher resolutions (eg, 4K and 8K) and network connectivity (ie, smart TVs) The total shipments of digital TVs in 2021 are forecasted to undergo a YoY growth rate of around 3% The high demand for the aforementioned end devices has therefore resulted in a corresponding surging demand for various ICs used in these devices, including CIS, DDI, and PMICs In addition, the increasing adoption of cloud services, including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, has also generated a massive demand for various high-end CPUs and memory products used in the HPC platforms that power said cloud services On the whole, TrendForce believes that, with demand maintaining a healthy growth momentum for many kinds of end products, semiconductor components that are manufactured with the same foundry nodes will be competing for production capacity Some categories of ICs will therefore experience a more severe capacity crunch due to the product mix strategies of respective foundries In the short term, no effective resolution is expected for the undersupply situation in the foundry market Certain foundries will continue to expand their production capacities in 2021 as the semiconductor industry undergoes a structural change With regards to the expansion plans of various foundries this year, tier-one and tier-two foundries will prioritize the development of different process nodes More specifically, tier-one foundries, including TSMC and Samsung, will focus on the R&D, fab build-out, and capacity expansion for the 5nm and below nodes in response to the growing chip demand for HPC-related applications On the other hand, tier-two foundries, including SMIC, UMC, and GlobalFoundries will primarily focus on expanding their production capacities of the 14nm to 40nm mature process nodes in order to meet the massive demand for next-gen telecom technologies (such as 5G and WiFi6/6E) and other diverse applications (such as OLED DDI and CIS/ISP) Incidentally, it should be pointed out that SMIC’s capacity expansion plans have been constrained after the US Department of Commerce added SMIC to the Entity List, which prohibited the company from procuring US semiconductor equipment However, SMIC still possesses enough funds for procuring non-US equipment and building new fabs, as the company is not only actively expanding its existing 8-inch and 12-inch wafer capacities, but also proceeding with the construction of its new fab in Beijing Apart from the aforementioned companies, other foundries, including PSMC, Tower Semiconductor, Vanguard, and HHGrace, will prioritize the capacity expansion of their 8-inch wafers (which are used for the 55nm and above nodes) to meet the demand for large-sized DDI, TDDI, and PMICs These foundries, in contrast with their larger competitors, are primarily focusing on 8-inch capacity expansion due to the relatively high cost of DUV immersion systems used for the 40/45nm and below processes For these companies, it is much more economically feasible to instead undertake capacity expansions for the 55/65nm and above nodes For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforcecom

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