Chip shortage forces Apple to cut production of the 5G iPhone 13 series in 2021
Apple is able to avoid a 20% price hike for chips as TSMC decides to limit its best customers’ price increase to 3%
Broadcom is fabless which means that it relies on independent foundries like TSMC to manufacture its semiconductors. While Texas Instruments does make some chips itself, it also relies on TSMC to produce some of its chip designs. This means that both must scramble to get their semiconductors made by TSMC and since Apple is the end-user of these components, Apple is the company that is getting the brunt of the shortage.
Once again, what brought on the shortage were car manufacturers who early last year figured that their new car business was dead meat in the wake of the pandemic. So they cut back on ordering chips and when demand for new cars turned out to be much better than expected, automakers backed up their trucks to take as many chips as they could buy. This shortage could continue next year and might not run its course for some time.
New orders for the iPhone 13 series made through Apple’s website will not be delivered until November in some cases and if you want to pick up your new handset at an Apple Store, you’re out of luck. The phones are “currently unavailable” for Apple Store pick up. And today’s report says that Apple’s carrier partners are also seeing delays in receiving new iPhone shipments.
The U.S. and China how to become self-sufficient when it comes to semiconductors
Both the U.S. and China would love to become self-sufficient when it comes to semiconductors. The U.S. has made this rather tough for China by not allowing a Dutch company named ASML from shipping a $150 million machine called an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machine to China’s top foundry, SMIC. The EUV machine is used to etch circuits on wafers that are eventually cut into individual chips.
With billions of transistors used on semiconductors like the A15 Bionic (which has 15 billion transistors stuffed inside it), etching circuit patterns requires a machine that can etch an extremely thin line on the wafer and that is what the EUV machine does. ASML is working on its next-generation EUV that it says will allow foundries to build more powerful and energy-efficient chips over the next decade.
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