iPhone 6 Release Date in Early 2014 as Apple Supplier TSMC Ramps up Production of 20nm Chips?

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By Erik Pineda | December 17, 2013 12:56 PM EST

Could it be that the iPhone 6 release date will be as early as Q2 2014 as Apple chip partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) will reportedly ramp up the mass production of 20-nanometre chips beginning on January of the same year?

TSMC, according to The Taipei Times, "is expected to ship 165,000 20nm chips to Apple next year."

"The 20nm system-on-a-chip is the most critical ramp-up TSMC has carried out in years. We will start high-volume production of this chip next month," the Taiwanese publication quoted TSMC CEO Mark Liu as saying.

While Apple has been specifically pinpointed as recipient of the giant chip shipments for Q1 2014, it remains a big question mark if 20nm chips will be used in the A8 CPU that is expected to power the iPhone 6 next year, Patently Apple said in a report.

The Apple-centric tech site also noted that 16nm chips are touted to come on-board with the first iOS phablet. It added that volume production of 16nm chips will commence December 2013, positioning the wafers to play a key role in the anticipated iPhone 6 release date plans by Apple.

Should that be the case, the iPhone 5S replacement will likely come out a bit earlier than expected, likely in the second quarter of 2014.

Originally, Apple is expected to stay on course with its iPhone upgrade cycle, which points to an annual fall refresh of the handset. In the case of the iPhone 6, that would be late September.

Some analysts, however, have projected that an earlier global rollout cannot be discounted. If Apple would indeed advance the iPhone 6 introduction, the possible target would be the summer period in North America or June 2014.

The report further supported Apple's plans of winding down its business relationship with Galaxy maker Samsung, which has become the tech giant's closest rival in the smartphone business.

To date, Samsung remains in the iOS device supply chain - providing a fraction of Apple's Retina display requirements for the iPad Mini 2 and supplying the A7 chips found in the iPhone 5S, CNET said in a report.

But with the iPhone 6, analysts believe that Samsung will be finally out of the picture.

The device is speculated as Apple's next game-changer, likely sporting a larger screen profile from the iPhone 5S' 4-inch. Reputable publications like The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have reported that this early, the iPhone maker is experimenting on various screen sizes for the 5S successor.

The floated sizes so far range from 4.5-inch to 6-inch but KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo is convinced that Apple would not go beyond the 5-inch mark in order to stay true with its optimised one-hand design template for the iPhone 6.

Aside from boasting a bigger screen from previous builds and a CPU in 64-bit computing standard, the device is also seen to showcase significant component upgrades such as 4GB of RAM or more, a Liquidmetal case for a tougher build, a wraparound display screen with capacitive control keys that fade out when not in use and sapphire that will coat the glass screen cover and the whole body to guard against nicks and scuffs.

As mentioned, release date of the iPhone 6 should be expected anytime within April through September 2014.

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