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Next-gen iPhone A7 chip being readied

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iPhone A7

Apple is readying its next generation iPhone and iPad processor for production, according to recent industry reports.

DigiTimes is reporting that Apple's chip manufacturing partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will "tape-out" the next-generation A7 chip this month, with a view to starting initial production tests in May or June.

The A7 chip is said to be built using a tiny 20nm process, which should make it extremely power-efficient and lead to cooler and thinner devices. The current A6 processor found in the iPhone 5 and the iPad 4 is built using a 32nm process.

Before you start rubbing your hands in anticipation at a full tooled-up iPhone 5S (or whatever the 2013 iPhone ends up being called), you should note that this A7 chip won't be ready for commercial shipment until the first quarter of 2014.

This means that the first device the all-singing Apple A7 chip will potentially be ready to appear in will be the next-but-one iPad. Then, naturally, it will likely make its way into the iPhone 6 (or whatever the 2014 iPhone is called).

Indeed, CNET is reporting that Apple is in the process of designing devices based on this new 20nm manufacturing process right now.

This deal with TSMC also represents a major step away from Samsung for Apple. Its great Korean rival has been the exclusive manufacturer of all of Apple's A-class processors up to this point, but Apple is keen to become less reliant on its key smartphone opponent.

Are you considering skipping the next iPhone for the sizeable step forward that the A7 should bring in 2014? Let us know in the comments section below.

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