iPhone X
The successor to Apple’s iPhone X is scheduled to launch this coming fall. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Apple is on track to launch its next-generation flagship iPhone earlier than last year’s iPhone X. According to a new report, Apple’s manufacturing partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has already started the mass production of the iPhone 11’s chipset.

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Wednesday that TSMC is already producing the A12 chip that’s expected to power up the new iPhones launching this coming fall. The new processor utilizes a 7-nanometer design that’s said to be faster and more efficient that the 10-nanometer A11 Bionic SoC of the current-generation iPhones.

Because it is built on a 7nm process, the A12 chip is smaller than the A11 Bionic. This could lead to more space for other components or upgraded parts inside the iPhone 11 and the other 2018 models. Both Apple and TSMC declined to comment on the leaked information regarding the new chipset.

Though Apple would be the first to use TSMC’s 7nm chip, it won’t be the sole company to have this type of technology. Its biggest rival, Samsung Electronics, also announced on Wednesday that it is working on 7nm processors that will launch later this year possibly alongside its new phones.

Samsung has one more flagship offering up its sleeve. It has already introduced the Galaxy S9, so everyone’s anticipating the launch of its second-half flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 9. On the other hand, Apple has a trio of new iPhones scheduled for release this fall. Aside from the iPhone 11, it is also rumored to be launching two other iPhones: one with an OLED display and another with an LCD screen.

Apple has better chances of doing well than Samsung based on the performance of their smartphones in the first quarter of this year. Apple’s iPhone X was declared the most popular smartphone around the world in the January through March period by industry tracker Strategy Analytics. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 failed to make it to the top five of the list.

Amid the sluggish sales of the Galaxy S9, the South Korean tech company carried out an investigation on its operations in the United States. However, a Samsung spokesperson strongly denied that the firm’s large-scale inspection program was due to the disappointing performance of the Galaxy S9 in the U.S. market.

“The inspection is not a punitive measure targeting a specific underperforming unit,” the Samsung spokesperson told The Investor earlier this month. “It is a usual process aimed at reviewing the status of business departments and global offices.” The spokesperson then noted that such inspection is targeted at resolving operation problems. “We usually address problems based on the results, if there are any.”