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Apple’s iPhone 8 chip design is already finalised – report

The design for Apple’s A11 chip – the one intended for use on next year’s iPhone 8 – is already being finalised, apparently.

That’s according to a report by technology industry news site DigiTimes, which claims Taiwanese chip maker TSMC has “recently begun to tape out the design” for the upcoming processor.

The report cites “industry sources” that suggest the processor will be built on a 10nm FinFET manufacturing process. That’s more efficient than the 16nm process used to create the A9 chip featured in the iPhone 6S.

TSMC is still developing its 10nm manufacturing process however, which explains why we won’t see it used for the iPhone 7 chip – the Apple A10 – this year.

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“TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to the customer for validation in the first quarter of 2017,” DigiTimes reports.

The report goes on to suggest that TSMC may begin “small-volume production” of the Apple A11 chip as soon as the second quarter of 2017, but mass-manufacturing won’t take place until the third quarter.

According to the sources, TSMC is set to win around two-thirds of Apple’s entire A11 chip orders. The remaining third could go to another chip supplier like Samsung.

TSMC is the world’s largest chip manufacturer, and has been a long-time supplier of chips for Apple.

Related: iPhone SE review

Apple is expected to skip the iPhone 7S next year, instead launching what analysts expect will be called the iPhone 8. It’s this phone that looks set to feature a 10nm A11 chip.

Apple’s iPhone 8 is also expected to be a major departure from conventional iPhone design, and is set to feature an all-glass aesthetic – a first for Apple.

Of course, we’re still waiting for the iPhone 7 to arrive, although analysts seem to think the 2016 flagship won’t be too exciting.

Apple hasn’t announced any details about its next iPhone, so we’ll have to wait until September for official information.

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