updated 10:52 am EDT, Fri June 15, 2012
A number of chip makers have already started stocking parts intended to be used in production of Apple's next-generation iPhone, according to industry sources for DigiTimes. Qualcomm and Broadcom are said to be producing 4G and Wi-Fi chips using a 28nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. OmniVision is also said to be hunting for production at TSMC's 12-inch fab, contributing to limited production capacity. OmniVision specializes in camera components, and has supplied cameras for Apple handhelds in the past.
Qualcomm is said to need about 10,000 28nm 12-inch wafers -- about a third of TSMC's 28nm capacity -- for the production of 4G chips for the iPhone, ignoring devices by other companies. NVIDIA is also taking up about 10,000 units of 28nm capacity at TSMC, leaving firms like Broadcom, Texas Instruments, Altera, and Xilinx with a small amount of remaining capacity to share. The sources add that TSMC will have a hard time meeting demand for 28nm until it ramps up its associated capacity to 50,000 units a month in the fourth quarter of 2012.
STMicroelectronics is meanwhile said to be scaling up output of MEMS parts. NXP and Texas Instruments are allegedly stockpiling analog ICs for iPhones.
Apple is widely expected to launch a new iPhone in the fall, either in September or October. It may effectively be guaranteed, since iOS 6 is due to launch in the same time period, and Apple has so far always timed the launch of major iOS releases to coincide with the introduction of new iPhone hardware.