Apple has managed to ramp up chip orders for its new iPhone 13 lineup by reducing equivalent orders for the older-generation iPhone models that the company still sells, according to a new DigiTimes report.
Apple has scaled down its chip orders for older-generation iPhones, while ramping up wafer starts at TSMC for its iPhone 13, the sources said. Apple has also not made any changes to its chip orders placed with TSMC for 2021, the sources noted.
Apple continues to sell the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, and iPhone 11 on its online store, and also offers the iPhone SE 2 for users who prefer an affordable iPhone with a Home button. Apple discontinued the iPhone XR, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max when it launched the iPhone 13 series in September.
Apple is currently struggling with shipment delays on all configurations of iPhone 13 models, with three- to four- week delays in shipments in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Older-generation models aren’t doing that much better, either. As of writing, online iPhone 12 and 12 mini orders face a one- to two-week shipping delay, while iPhone 11 orders face an up to five-week delay.
During Apple’s last earnings call, CEO Tim Cook warned that industry-wide shortages could be impacting iPhone production in the coming months, while increased demand for the latest iPhones could well be exacerbating supply issues. Analyst reports suggest iPhone 13 orders have seen strong early demand, with minimal near-term component headwinds for the devices suggesting lengthy delivery estimates are a result of high demand rather than low supply.
According to today’s report, TSMC is still on track to move its 3nm process technology to volume production in the second half of 2022, with monthly output for the process set to reach 55,000 wafers. TSMC’s 3nm process will reportedly be first adopted for the manufacture of iPhone chips. A previous report from Nikkei Asia claimed Apple will debut the next-generation 3nm chip technology in a 2022 iPad Pro.
The A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13 uses a 5nm+ process, which TSMC refers to as N5P, a “performance-enhanced version” of its 5nm process that delivers additional power efficiency and performance improvements. The A16 chip in 2022 iPhones is expected to be manufactured based on TSMC’s future 4nm process.