While Apple’s orders for the A9 chip in the iPhone 6s/Plus were split between the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung, we heard back in February that TSMC was to be the sole supplier of the A10 chip in the iPhone 7.  A new report from Korea claims that the same is true of the A11 chip destined for next year’s iPhone.

The report appears in the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, via Digitimes.

TSMC is already the exclusive manufacturer of Apple’s A10 chip which will power the upcoming iPhone series slated for launch in September 2016. The Taiwan-based foundry will continue to be the sole supplier of Apple’s next-generation A11 processor that will be built on a 10nm FinFET process, the report indicated, without citing its sources.

TSMC is believed to have a technological edge on its Korean rival, beating Samsung in the race to develop 10-nanometer processes …

Benchmark tests of the iPhone 6s also showed that models with the TSMC chip ran cooler and offered better battery-life than those with the Samsung chip. While Apple described the differences as small, it may have played a role in Apple’s decision to favor the Taiwanese chipmaker.

We heard back in May that TSMC had finalized the initial design of the A11 chip for use in the 2017 iPhone. With all reports suggesting that the design of the iPhone 7 is likely to be pretty similar to the iPhone 6, it’s been suggested that Apple may be planning something special for a 10th anniversary model next year.

For the iPhone 7, we’re expecting upgraded cameras, neater antenna lines, better storage options, a Space Black color option, new Force Touch Home button and removal of the headphone socket.

For the iPhone 8, in contrast, we’ve been hearing rumors of a Home button embedded in the display, allowing much smaller bevels, as well as an all-glass casing with AMOLED screen. If Apple is indeed planning on big design changes next year, it’s also possible that it will use a new name instead of simply incrementing it to the iPhone 8.

These reports, as with many Digitimes should be taken with a grain of salt as they often change as new products ramp up. Apple also loves to have multiple suppliers for its chips.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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