Before the release of the new iPhone 14 series this year, there were many rumors claiming that Apple would substantially increase the price of the entire iPhone series, but after the release, the iPhone 14 series did increase in price, but the price increase was not high, and the hardware of the new machine was upgraded at the same time. The intensity is also very small. Recently, some voices believe that next year’s iPhone 15 series may become the most expensive iPhone in history, all because TSMC’s foundry costs are too expensive.
Samsung has always been TSMC’s opponent in the chip industry, but in the 7nm, 5nm and 4nm processes, TSMC has completely crushed Samsung Electronics, and because Samsung’s 5nm, 4nm and 3nm GAA foundry yield rate is too low , causing many partners to fall to TSMC, the most typical of which are Qualcomm and Nvidia.
In the 5nm process, the Snapdragon 8, built with Samsung’s 5nm process, overturned, forcing Qualcomm to hand over all subsequent orders to TSMC, and the Snapdragon 8+ manufactured by TSMC is in terms of performance and power consumption. All aspects are far beyond the Snapdragon 8 of Samsung’s 5n nanometer process. This is mainly because Samsung’s 5nm process is 35% different from TSMC’s 5nm process in terms of transistor density.
It is enough to see that Samsung’s foundry problems are serious. In terms of reliability, TSMC still has a lot of technical advantages. Even on the 3nm process, Samsung announced the world’s first launch and developed a new GAA process, manufacturers still choose TSMC to use the 3nm process of the original FinFET technology.
At present, Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Intel have pre-booked TSMC’s production capacity for 23 and 24 years. Even in the face of the increasingly depressed chip industry, TSMC’s foundry business is still in full swing. This is the advantage brought by technological leadership. On this basis, TSMC’s foundry costs have also hit new highs, and the 3nm 12-inch wafer has exceeded the high price of 20,000 US dollars.
What kind of concept is this? A 12-inch wafer has an area of about 70,659 square millimeters, while a 3-nanometer chip has an area of about 70 square millimeters. Under the premise that TSMC has a 100% yield rate and no scrap waste, only 1,000 chips can be cut.
What’s more, this is completely impossible. The yield rate of 90% is already very high. Moreover, there are rumors that Samsung’s yield rate in the 3nm process is only 20%. So assuming that TSMC’s foundry fee of 20,000 US dollars can cut seven or eight hundred chips, the foundry fee for each chip is as high as nearly 200 yuan. , packaging and a series of costs.
As a result, the cost price of 3nm process chips will be as high as more than 1,000 yuan, and this part of the cost will eventually be passed on to users. Looking back at TSMC’s foundry costs over the years, the foundry costs for 90nm chips were only $2,000 in 2004, and soared to $6,000 for 10nm chips in 2016. It’s already as high as $16,000.
Previously at Nvidia’s press conference, Lao Huang responded to users’ doubts about pricing and said that the price increase of new products is normal, because compared with the current 12-inch wafer foundry quotation in the past, it is not only a little more expensive. Referring to the overall price increase of the RTX 40 series, we may be able to get a glimpse of the price increase of the iPhone 15 series next year.
If Apple implements the chip differentiation strategy in the iPhone 14 series, then next year the basic model of the iPhone 15 will be equipped with the A16 chip, and only the iPhone 15 Pro and the rumored iPhone 15 Ultra will use the latest 3-nanometer A17 chip, which means that next year the iPhone 15 will be equipped with the A16 chip. iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra will have a higher price increase.
In particular, next year’s iPhone 15 series is generally considered to be the iPhone that has changed the most in recent years. Perhaps the previous speculation that the price of the iPhone 15 Ultra will increase is still too conservative. The low-end version may hit a new high and not only break through the 10,000 yuan mark, but may even go up to 11,000 yuan. This is only 8,999 yuan for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. In terms of price, it is already a huge increase.