The next iPad Pro is widely expected to make an appearance in 2017 but that time frame could be set for delays even at this early stage due to a low yield of A10X chips.
Apple is expected to use the 10-nanometer A10X chip in the next iPad Pro but it not being able to make enough of them quick enough could put the release date of the iPad Pro in jeopardy. It is suspected that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the source of the delay, which Apple have readily relied on when it comes to providing chips for its iDevices.
TSMC has reportedly obtained 10nm chip orders from Apple, HiSilicon and MediaTek, with volume production set to kick off in the first quarter of 2017. Nevertheless, yield rates for TSMC’s 10nm process technology are not what the foundry expected, the sources said.
TSMC aren’t scheduled to begin production of the A10X until March 2017 but unsatisfactory yields for the foundry’s 10nm process could disrupt the schedule before it has even begun. TSMC reportedly will also be manufacturing Apple’s A11 chips for use in the iPhone 8 with volume production scheduled to kick off in the second quarter of 2017, so this delay could have a knock-on effect.
It’s not only TSMC that are experiencing problems and appears Samsung are also seeing low rates for the 10nm process. The news about the low yield rate of 10-nanometer chips has reportedly prompted Qualcomm to revise its roadmap when it comes to the Snapdragon chip. Qualcomm originally planned for the Snapdragon 835 and other chips including the 660 (codenamed 8976 Plus) to be built using Samsung’s 10nm process, but has revised its roadmap by having only the 835-series made using the newer node technology.
With iPad sales declining and forecasts expecting that decline to continue, it may be that this delay isn’t as impacting as it could have been with iPad sales in its prime. With that said, Apple will certainly want to keep a close eye on the situation as to not have it affect the iPhone 8 production later next year.