Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM), or TSMC, will shift to its 8-inch fab to produce the fingerprint sensor for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 6, the company’s upcoming flagship smartphone, according to a new report.
The Taiwanese chip manufacturer is expected to use its current fingerprint-sensor processing method for the iPhone 6 as Apple had cited concerns with the yield rate of TSMC’s 12-inch fab, Digitimes reported, contradicting its earlier report in which it said that the chip-maker would be using a larger 12-inch fab for iPhone 6’s fingerprint sensor to increase production efficiency.
The latest DigiTimes report said that Apple previously decided to have TSMC produce iPhone 6’s biometric scanner at the company’s 12-inch facilities using a 65nm process. But, due to risks associated with 12-inch wafer-level packaging, or WLP, technologies, the iPhone-maker finally opted for TSMC’s 8-inch fab, which allows better yield rates for WLP to produce the fingerprint sensors.
TSMC is also said to be continuing to contract the packaging process to back-end partners such as Xintec and China WLCSP. Previously, TSMC had handled the packaging process to centralize control over the component.
According to the Digitimes report, yield rates for the 8-inch WLP can exceed 95 percent, while those for 12-inch WLP at TSMC's facilities at the Southern Taiwan Science Park stay between 70 percent and 80 percent.
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The Touch ID fingerprint sensor, featured in the iPhone 5s, was reportedly responsible for the limited supplies of the handset at its launch last September. However, no supply constraints are expected with iPhone 6’s launch later this year as many of those issues have now been resolved, MacRumors reported.
Meanwhile, the current rumor-mill surrounding the iPhone 6 suggests that the upcoming iteration of the device could sport a 10-megapixel rear camera with an improved f/1.8 aperture. The existing iPhone 5s currently sports an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture.
Some reports also suggest that Apple could launch two iPhone models this year, one with a 4.7-inch display and another featuring a 5.5-inch display. The iPhone 6 is also rumored to sport sapphire crystal display, which will make the phone’s screen stronger and scratch resistant.