Apple is gearing up to buy chips from a US factory in a few years from Bloomberg Mark Guerman. The company’s CEO Tim Cook reportedly made the revelation while meeting with local tech and retail employees in Germany, telling them that Apple had “already made a decision to buy out a plant in Arizona.” As Gurman points out, it would reduce Apple’s reliance on factories in Asia, particularly Taiwan, where 60 percent of the world’s processor is produced. “Regardless of what you may feel and think, 60 percent coming from somewhere is probably not a strategic position,” Cook added.
The CEO is most likely referring to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s Arizona plant, which is currently under construction. TSMC is Apple’s exclusive chip-making partner, although it also counts NVIDIA, MediaTek, AMD and ARM among its customers. The Arizona plant is expected to be up and running in 2024, with an output of 20,000 chips per month and the ability to produce 5-nanometer processors.
According to previous reports, Apple plans to apply TSMC’s new 3-nanometer chip manufacturing process, its newest and most advanced yet, to future devices. The Financial Times says the A17 mobile processor Apple is currently developing for the 2023 iPhone series will be mass-produced using the new technology. It’s unclear if Apple plans to use the Arizona factory only for older and less advanced chips or if TSMC has plans to update the factory. TSMC is already thinking about building a second plant next to its $12 billion facility in Arizona, but it told Bloomberg that it has not yet taken a final decision.
As the publication previously reported, TSMC has expanded into other countries over the past year to meet the needs of customers in countries that are driving domestic semiconductor production. For example, President Joe Biden recently passed the CHIPS and Science Act into law. Under the new law, the US government is offering $52 billion in funding and incentives to companies building chips in the country.
In addition to revealing that Apple will be sourcing US-made processors, Cook also reportedly told employees, “I’m sure we’ll be sourcing from Europe as those plans become clearer as well.” While that was all he shared during the meeting, Bloomberg previously reported that TSMC is in talks with the German government to open facilities in the country. Europe, like the US, is trying to entice semiconductor manufacturers to open factories in the region and introduced the EU Chip Act in April to “strengthen [its] competitiveness and resilience in semiconductor technologies and applications.”
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