According to a report from DigiTimes (via AppleInsider), Taiwanese semiconductory foundry TSMC is planning to roll out its 7-nanometer process node as soon as 2018. By 2020, the manufacturer plans to jump down to a 5-nanometer process node. How could this benefitfuture versions of the iPhone?
In theory, an iPhone built around a chip with a smaller fabrication process will achieve better performance along with reduced power consumption. In other words, future iPhone processors built around 7-nanometeror 5-nanometertechnology would be faster, more powerful, and also less power-hungry.
The reason for this is the fact that the transistors built onto the chip get tinier and packed together more compactly, so the electrons dont have to travel so far when moving from one to another. This saves time and energy, making the processor more powerful, quicker, andmore energy-efficient.
To put things in perspective, the current-generation A9 chip is mostly manufactured on 14-nanometerfabrication processes, with some of TSMCs units being producedon its 16-nanometerline. In theory, reducing the fabrication process to 7 nanometersfor, say, the A10 chip would result in a processor significantly more powerful, but easier on your battery, than the current generation.
This advance within TSMCs manufacturing capabilities could work wonders for the iPhones battery life, while still allowing the device to continue growing in speed and capabilities. The question left unanswered is when the technology would be adopted. AppleInsider points out that the industry has only now begun to shift to 14-nanometer production, and Apple was one of the first companies to take advantage of that process. How long it would take to begin using a fabrication process half that size is truly anybodys guess.