As you might have learned a long time ago, Apple designs its own Central Processing Units (CPU) for the iPhone and has them manufactured by TSMC using the 5nm process node. The A14 Bionic chips each contain 15 billion transistors packed together in a density of 171.3 million transistors per square mm. The higher the transistor density, the more powerful and energy-efficient a chip is. The 2020 iPhone models could be the first smartphones equipped with 5nm chipsets.
According to a tweet from a retired engineer who goes by the Twitter handle of @chiakokua, Chinese publication Commercial Times reveals that Apple will start relying on home-grown 5nm Graphics Processing Units (GPU) during the second half of next year. The chips will have a code name of Lifuka. Because of the revised U.S. export rules, TSMC will not be allowed to manufacture 5nm chips for Huawei after September 14th. However, there are no worries for TSMC since the 5nm production capacity that opened up in the light of the new U.S. export rules has been grabbed by Apple for its new GPU line.
According to Commercial Times, the GPU “has tile-based deferred rendering technology that allows application developers to write more powerful professional application software and game software.” It will be developed for the Mac. Another new in-house chip incoming is the 5nm A14X that will power the next premium iPad Pro model. The chip is codenamed Tonga. Apple has reportedly dropped support for the AMD produced GPUs used in the macOS ARM 64-bit operating system. Besides the homegrown GPU and A14X CPU, Apple is also mass-producing the 5nm A14 CPU for the iPhone 12 series. These chips are codenamed Sicilian.
Apple is expected to unveil four new iPhone 12 models this year including the 5.4-inch iPhone 12, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. The two standard units will carry 4GB of memory while the two Pro units should be powered by 6GB of memory. The Pro units will feature a 12MP Main Camera, an Ultra-wide camera, a Telescopic camera with 3x optical zoom, and the LiDAR depth sensor. The latter uses a time of flight system to produce more advanced depth measurements.
Last month, Apple announced that the release of the iPhone 12 handsets will be a few weeks late which means that the first 5G iPhones might not be launched until the middle of October or earlyin November.