The A11 chips for Apple’s upcoming iOS devices have already entered production. Reuters/Issei Kato

The A11 processor for this year’s iPhones and possible tablet refreshes have entered production, according to the latest word from industry sources. This is good news for fans who are hoping for the next-generation iPhones, especially iPhone 8, to launch on time despite the previous issues the manufacturer faced with the 10nm chip.

Just this Thursday, DigiTimes got insider information about the operations of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which is the sole supplier of Apple’s A11 chips. “TSMC has begun 10nm chip production for Apple’s next-generation iPhone 8 series,” the sources told the publication. The sources then pointed out that production of the powerful processor was previously affected by issues pertaining to the “stacking components in the backened integrated fan-out packaging process.”

Previous reports stated that TSMC was going to start producing the A11 chips in April, so that it would have created 50 million units by July. But this plan fell through due to problems with the manufacturing process. This appears to be what the industry sources are referencing in their latest update. Fortunately, it’s clear now that the problems have already been addressed since the Taiwanese company has commenced production of Apple’s new processor.

READ: Apple launching 10.5-inch iPad Pro 2 at WWDC?

According to MacRumors, the A11 processor is expected to be the one to power the first OLED handset from the tech giant, which is currently rumored to be called as “iPhone 8.” The Apple-centric news site also indicated that the new 10nm chip could also be the same processor that Tim Cook’s company will be using for the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus — the “s” upgrades of last year’s models. It’s also possible that Apple would use the same chip for the rumored iPad refreshes this year.

Since the start of this year, multiple reports, leaks and schematics have emerged online, and most are suggesting that the next-generation flagship iPhone would be a major redesign compared to last year’s iPhone 7. Just yesterday, we reported about a factory leak that appears to confirm what other sources and tipsters have been saying so far. The leaked material apparently shows an iPhone that has an edge-to-edge OLED display, an all-glass black panel and a vertically aligned dual-camera module. All of these design elements are strongly linked to the rumored and highly anticipated iPhone 8.

It is not surprising that TSMC is the sole maker of the A11 chips for the next-generation iPhones. The world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry was also the one that built the A10 chips found on the very successful iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models from last year. Even in the first quarter of this year, the success of the two handsets cannot be ignored. The iPhone 7 shipped 21.5 million units, while the iPhone 7 Plus shipped 17.4 million units within the first three months of 2017, AppleInsider reported this Thursday citing data collected by Strategy Analytics.

READ: Why Apple is choosing Lightning over USB-C for iPhone 8

Meanwhile, aside from Apple, TSMC is also producing 10nm chips for MediaTek and HiSilicon. DigiTimes sources revealed that the Taiwanese company has just obtained orders from the fabless semiconductor companies. The sources added that MediaTek originally planned to come up with the X30 and P35 10nm chips, but the latter was canceled because of the underwhelming support from its major clients.


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