A recent report explains Apple placed a massive order for its next mobile processor, the A15, and while it is expected to power the iPhone 13, it might be used in other devices as well. Apple makes a variety of technology, from earbuds and TV streaming boxes to tablets and computers. It’s interesting to consider which might be making use of the new iPhone chip and enjoy its new capabilities.
Every fall, Apple updates its flagship iPhone with the latest and best system-on-a-chip (SoC) that it has available. This is made more impressive by the fact that Apple leads the industry for best mobile performance, outpacing the chips used by competing phones year after year, sometimes by a large margin. For quite some time, Apple proclaimed its iPad, which used an A-series chip, to be as fast as many PC laptops. While Intel’s chips continually improve, it seems Apple’s are outpacing them, at least in the low-power device category. Apple’s new M1 SoC which powers the newest iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro is based upon its A-series chip and the company has committed to transitioning fully to Apple Silicon within two years. The announcement was made in June of 2020, so that means there is one year left.
The new rumor from China’s cnBeta suggests that Apple has placed an order for more than 100 million A15 processors from TSMC, a sign that Apple anticipates that its upcoming iPhone 13 will sell quickly. The iPhone 12 is estimated to have crossed 100-million units sold, so this isn’t surprising, however, orders are usually placed incrementally, not all at once. This might simply mean that Apple is stockpiling this critical component in light of ongoing news of TSMC becoming heavily booked, due to its advanced capabilities and a global shortage of similar facilities. On the other hand, there have been rumors of Apple bringing significant updates to several other products.
What To Do With 100 Million A15 Chips?
Apple’s A15 is expected to be faster and more efficient than the A14, as usual, but it might not be as dramatic of an improvement as last year. The manufacturing process TSMC is expected to use is known as N5P, which has the same 5-nanometer scale as the previous-generation chip. The ‘P’ stands for performance-enhanced and offers a choice of 7-percent higher performance or 15-percent greater efficiency. Some of the speed improvements of a chip have to do with the design rather than the manufacturing and Apple probably has some tricks to increase performance and reduce power use beyond that modest gain.
With 100 million of these powerhouse chips potentially becoming available soon, Apple might choose to upgrade several devices at once with this same state-of-the-art design. The iPad mini 6 is expected to be unveiled alongside the new iPhone 13 and it might get an A15. The iPad Air 4 is already fast with its A14 chip, but it might see a simultaneous update. Perhaps more interesting is the possibility of a new Apple TV with serious upgrades to enable improved performance for gaming. There has been an ongoing rumor that Apple intends to expand the capabilities of its Apple Arcade and this might be a good opportunity to do so. Whatever may come, if Apple actually ordered 100 million A15 chips, it is either being quite cautious with supplies or has something big planned.