Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) may have reportedly scored Apple’s A-series orders for the next-gen iPhone 7, but with plenty of rivals on its tail it’s not shying away from putting in the work (and, more importantly, the cash) to ensure it stays Apple’s chipmaker of note.
According to TSMC’s co-CEO Mark Liu, this means spending a massive, record-setting $2.2 billion on R&D this year; a significantly higher figure than the $1.067 it spend researching new processes last year.
Liu says that TSMC is in line to be the industry’s first chipmaker to have its 7-nanometer process technology certified, and that its 10nm chips are also scheduled to move to volume production soon.
On top of this, TSMC has additionally been “aggressively developing” new specialty process technologies, including 55nm and 40nm ULP processes aimed at “Internet of Things” applications. Given Apple’s likely interest in the automotive industry, with a possible Apple Car/Project Titan, Mark Liu also said TSMC is interested in automotive electronics.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about TSMC’s willingness to splash the cash. Earlier this year, it spent $81.8 million buying new facility equipment from M+W High Tech Projects Taiwan and United Integrated Services, as per a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
TSMC reportedly won the A10 Apple contract over rival Samsung by being the first manufacturer to scale down their process to 10-nanometers — which will up performance, lower costs, and save on battery life compared to the the A9 SoC (system-on-chip) found in the iPhone 6s.
After the battle to build last year’s A9 chips got pretty heated before Apple eventually decided to split orders between TSMC and Samsung, it seems like the Taiwanese manufacturer is doing everything it can to hold onto Apple as a client.