According to reports, Apple (AAPL.US) is preparing to start purchasing chips for its devices from a factory under construction in Arizona, USA. Apple CEO Tim Cook made the revelation during an internal meeting with local engineering and retail employees in Germany during a recent trip to Europe. He also said that Apple may also expand the supply of chips it receives from European factories.
Cook told employees: “We have decided to source chips from a factory in Arizona that will open in 2024, so we have about two years, maybe less. In Europe, I can say for sure, We will also be sourcing from Europe as these plans become more apparent.”
According to speculation, the US factory mentioned by Cook is likely to be a factory in Arizona of Apple’s exclusive chip manufacturing partner TSMC (TSM.US), which is scheduled to be put into use in 2024. Separately, TSMC has also considered building a second factory in the United States, as part of a broader effort by the company to expand chip production in the United States.
Representatives for Apple and TSMC declined to comment.
In addition, Intel (INTC.US) is also preparing to build a factory in Arizona, which will start production in 2024 at the earliest. While the chipmaker has been a major Apple supplier for years, it’s now unlikely to regain that business. Apple has already replaced Intel processors in Macs and other products in favor of its own components, and the chipmaker has an unproven track record of making products designed by other companies.
However, there is a doubt here, that is, whether TSMC’s planned factory is suitable for Apple’s needs. TSMC has said the factory’s initial capacity will be 20,000 chips per month and will use a 5-nanometer production process, which won’t meet Apple’s near-term demand for more advanced 3-nanometer chips.
In theory, TSMC could introduce advanced products faster than has been announced so far. It’s also possible that Apple could use chips from the Arizona factory for less complex components in its devices.
In Europe, Cook did not specify in his speech where the company might get more chips in Europe, but reports say TSMC is in discussions with the German government about building a factory in the country.