Demand for TSMC’s 28nm chip manufacturing capability is running very high, with the company only being able to meet about 70% of that demand. Due to this and the fact that TSMC want to win orders from Apple to build its next generation ARM-based CPU (current 45nm generation in its iPad are being made by Samsung) they will bring forward their plans for 20nm production from 2013 to 2012, investing $700 Million in R&D in the process. Note that this technology is ahead of Intel’s 22nm technology currrently used in its just-launched Ivy Bridge products, although these will be planar, not 3D transistors. TSMC is also accelerating the pace of its 28nm capacity expansion and expects to be able to meet 28nm demand by Q4 2012.
The present 28nm shortage at TSMC makes it more unlikely that the foundry could attract orders from Apple, the sources claimed. TSMC currently is unable to provide sufficient capacity to its existing 28nm customers, the sources said.