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Apple, TSMC reportedly ramping up 10nm chip mass production for use in future iPhones

Reports from China suggest that the major chip fabricators are all readying mass production of 10nm process processors, including Apple's manufacturing partner TSMC for multiple companies.

According to supply chain reports from DigiTimes besides just for Apple's future A-series processors, TSMC will supply the Helio X30 and X35 for MediaTek, between the end of 2016 and 2017.

TSMC is also expected to provide chips for HiSilicon, which will ultimately find its way into Android-based Huawei flagship phones.

Apple's A10 Fusion chip as found in the iPhone 7 family utilizes TSMC's 16nm FinFET process. Apple's A9 in the iPhone 6S family and iPhone SE, and A9X processors found in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro use the same size die.

Two otherwise identical chips with different die sizes have less the current used on the chip manufactured with the smaller die. As a result, in most cases the generated heat is less, and the power demanded by the smaller die size chip is lower as well.

Qualcomm has also recently announced its 10nm mobile chips will be fabricated by Samsung, with shipment of the Snapdragon 835 in commercial devices in the first half of 2017. Samsung's as-yet unrevealed Exynos evolution is also expected in the first half of 2017.

Smaller die sizes are in development at this point. IBM has built the first functional chips with 7nm technology, with consumer products with the technology likely at some point in 2019.