The Apple A11 Enters Tape-Out Design Stage; Certification Expected At Year’s End

Ramish Zafar
Posted May 7, 2016
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Taking a look at how things have been progressing in the mobile world so far, we’ve seen several critical pieces of information surface so far. The first of these relates to the Snapdragon 830, with rumors of Qualcomm’s next SoC surfacing quite early this time around. Speaking of Qualcomm, the chip maker has also seen information surface related to the Snapdragon 823 with regularity, as the processor is rumored to be headed for the Samsung Galaxy Note 6, also expected later this year. On the other side of things, Samsung’s been quite active as well, with the Korean tech giant elaborating quite a bit on its upcoming processor plans earlier this month.

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TSMC Enters Final Design Stages For The Apple A11; Certification Expected At Year End

When it comes to product launches, given the highly competitive nature of the tech industry, companies already start working on launches very early on. After all, given the highly complex nature of the launches involved, the earlier an upgrade completes its design stage, the earlier any inconsistencies which arise can be eliminated. To that end, looks like TSMC’s quite eager to take Apple’s A11 orders for 2017 as well, according to some fresh information straight out of Taiwan.

According to sources, the Taiwanese fab has entered the final Tape-Out stage for the A11’s design, with the manufacturer expected to gain certification for the processor’s design by the end of this year. If TSMC does gain certification for the processor, then we should expect the A11 to enter trial runs the latest by second quarter 2017. Apple will be receiving samples by Q1 2017, and sources are further speculating that Cupertino will be delegating two thirds of its A11 orders to TSMC.

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In addition, perhaps the most important bit of today’s news is that the A11 will be manufacturer by TSMC on the 10nm FinFET process. This should mark the first significant process jump by Apple’s A series processors in quite a while and we’re eager to see how the subsequent power and performance benefits blend in with Cupertino’s hardware/software optimization. After all, Samsung’s been very public about its process advances for this year and the next, and a similar alleged response from the Apple camp was expected.

Nevertheless, its still quite some time till we get to see the A11 so until then, you’re going to have to do with the iPhone 7 and its A10. While the A10 will be manufactured on the 14nm node, its still expected to come with some perks on board. The most important of these is TSMC’s InFO, which is expected to reduce overall package size by quite a bit, resulting in efficient conduction and temperature management. We’ll keep you updated as more information surfaces, Till then, stay tuned and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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