Apple and its chip supplier, TSMC, have started manufacturing the next iPhone chip, which very likely will be called A12, as the current generation of iPhone carrying the A11 chip. According to Bloomberg, the Taiwanese chip manufacturing company has started mass production for the upcoming 7nm chip.
The A12 7nm chip would most likely be featured in the upcoming iPhone in later this year, most probably September considering it is Apple’s iPhone launch window usually.
As a processor consists of billions of transistor, a 7 nano-meter processor means its average distance between transistor will be 7 nano-meter. As the distance shrink, the electron will need less energy to move across transistor, and hence the chip will be more power efficient. In addition, shrinking the lithography would let the processor pack more transistor in the same footprint as its predecessor, or the total processor package size could be shrink, depending on the design. Either way, it will improve the efficiency and performance of the device carrying the latest chip.
Achieving 7nm might be the first case in the whole industry, where most of the other competitors in mobile chip only having 10nm design. In contrast to desktop level chip, the current generation processor from AMD is based on 12nm lithography.
We speculate the performance of the new chip will have around 10% to 20% improvement in raw performance compare to last generation chip, the A11.