Apple is going to kit the iPhone 8 out with super-powerful A11 chips that are built using a brand new manufacturing technology. At least that’s what tech industry news site Digitimes reckons, in a new report that claims Apple has turned to Taiwanese chip producer TSMC for its next round of iPhone processors.
According to the article, TSMC will build the iPhone 8’s A11 chip on a 10nm manufacturing process, which is far more efficient than the 16nm process used for the the iPhone 7’s A10 chip. With the move to 10nm, more transistors can be placed onto a single chip, which means we’ll see either an increase in performance, or a reduction in power consumption.
In fact, market leading chipmaker Qualcomm recently announced its own first-ever 10nm chip, the Snapdragon 835. Qualcomm reckons the more efficient manufacturing process means we’ll see 27% higher performance, or 40% better power efficiency compared to the previous generation Snapdragon chips. It’s likely that an Apple chip built on 10nm would offer similarly lofty improvements. However, it should be noted that TSMC is expected to build Apple’s chips, whereas Qualcomm’s new chip is going to be built by rival firm Samsung.
If Apple went after battery life with the A11 chip, it would soothe the woes of many iPhone 7 critics left unimpressed by the handset's longevity. However, battery life is dependant on several factors, including the efficiency of the chip, the type of display used, and how well-optimised the software is.
In any case, the move from 16nm to 10nm has long been rumoured for Apple’s iPhone 8 chip, so we’re expecting to see big things from the new processor. But it’s important to take this report with due caution. Firstly, Digitimes has a very mixed track record when it comes to Apple-related leaks. And secondly, we have no way of verifying the information contained in the report, which means there’s a chance it could be completely spurious.
Apple is expected to show off its new phone in September 2017, with the handset tipped to debut a major design overhaul. But we’ll see phones featuring Qualcomm’s new chip far earlier, with the first Snapdragon 835 handsets set to arrive very early next year.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S8
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