TSMC starts manufacturing the CPU that will power the iPhone 9

It’s long been believed that Apple’s next wave of iPhones will be equipped with an all-new, custom-built Apple A12 CPU that’s built on a 7-nanometer (nm) process – and now it’s emerged that one of the firm’s leading suppliers has started mass producing the chipset that will be on board the iPhone 9.

TSM has begun manufacturing the so-called Apple A12 on a mass scale, reports Bloomberg. Citing an unnamed source, the outlet also confirmed that the chip is being built on a 7nm process, corroborating rumours claiming that would be the case – something that will come as a shock to rival chip maker Samsung LSI.

The current range of iPhones – the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – ship with Apple’s 10nm A11 Bionic CPU, which has two high-performance cores that are 25% faster than that of the A10 Fusion, the chipset that debuted on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus back in September 2016, according to Geekbench benchmark results.

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The nanometer process refers to the amount of space between the transistors – the smaller the distance, the more you can squeeze in to boost computing power. And the more you can cram in, the smaller, faster and more efficient the CPU will be, and that can ultimately lead to cost savings over an extended period of time.

Apple is expected to launch three new iPhones this fall: a successor to the iPhone X, as well as a Plus-sized model; and a budget iPhone with a cheaper 6.1-inch LCD screen (the iPhone X has a clearer, more vibrant 5.8-inch OLED display), which could be the much-anticipated iPhone SE 2 – although that’s far from confirmed.

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