A14X Chip for First Apple Silicon Mac and New iPad Pro to Enter Mass Production in Fourth Quarter

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Apple’s 5-nanometer-based A14X processor, which is destined for the first Apple Silicon Mac and the next-generation iPad Pro, will enter mass production in the fourth quarter of this year, reports DigiTimes.

Apple will kick off its 5nm wafer starts at TSMC for its new Apple Silicon processors starting the fourth quarter of 2020, with monthly output estimated at 5,000-6,000 wafers, according to industry sources.

Apple is gearing up for the upcoming launch of its new-generation MacBook and iPad Pro series powered by its self-designed Arm-based processors, which will be fabricated using TSMC’s 5nm EUV process technology, the sources indicated.

Last year, TSMC announced a $25 billion investment in the new 5nm node technology in a bid to remain the exclusive supplier of Apple’s processors, and it already appears to have paid off.

A report late last month from The China Times claimed that the first Apple Silicon Mac to use TSMC’s 5nm process will launch by the end of the year in the form of a super-lightweight 12-inch MacBook with a battery life of between 15 and 20 hours.

According to the Chinese report’s sources, the 12-inch MacBook will reportedly use the A14X processor, which is based on the 5-nanometer A14 chip that will be used in the upcoming iPhone 12 models. Codenamed “Tonga,” the A14X is also set to be used in the next-generation iPad Pro and will go into production by the end of the year, said the report.

Apple announced at its WWDC developer conference in June that its Macs will transition from Intel x86-based CPUs to its self-designed Arm-based Apple Silicon processors over the next two years. Bloomberg has said that Apple is currently developing at least three Mac processors that are based on the A14 chip.

Apple’s first Mac processors will have 12 cores, including eight high-performance cores and at least four energy-efficient cores, according to Bloomberg. Apple is said to be exploring Mac processors with more than 12 cores for further in the future, with the company already designing a second generation of Mac processors based on the A15 chip.

Apple is rumored to be planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display supplied by Innolux in the first half of 2021. Apple was originally planning to launch the device in the fall of 2020, but is unable to meet that deadline with the global health crisis, and now multiple sources suggest a 2021 launch. Trial production on the new iPad Pro reportedly began in June.