A new report today says that Apple will be responsible for more than half of all 5nm chips made this year, and that Samsung will be in a distant third place at around 5% of the latest smaller-process chips. The A14 chip was Appleâ€™s first use of a 5nm process.
Apple will also be in large part responsible for Qualcomm coming in second, at around a quarter of the likely production â€¦
The Counterpoint Research report opens by noting that 2020 was a good year for chipmakers, and that 2021 is likely to be the same.
The semiconductor industryâ€™s foundry sector delivered above-expectation revenue growth in 2020. With tightening supplies from most global vendors, we expect 2021 to continue this momentum [â€¦]
Technology migrations in leading-edge nodes (7-nanometer and 5-nanometer) appear to be accelerating to meet the demand from 5G smartphones, game consoles and AI/GPU in cloud servers.
In 2020, the foundry industry revenue reached about $82 billion, representing a 23% YoY growth. Despite this high base of 2020, the double-digit growth will persist in 2021. We forecast a 12% YoY growth with a total revenue of $92 billion.
It then looks at 5nm processes specifically, and predicts that Apple will be by far the largest customer of the most advanced chips. Appleâ€™s A14 chips are already made using a 5nm process, and the iPhone maker is expected to switch to an enhanced â€˜5nm+â€™ process for this yearâ€™s phones, before moving to 4nm next year.
Based on our estimates, the total wafer shipment volume of 5nm will account for 5% of 12-inch wafers in the global foundry industry in 2021, up from less than 1% in 2020. Apple is the top customer (with all orders to TSMC) in 5nm this year (see Exhibit 1), including both for iPhones (A14/A15) and the newly released Apple Silicon
Counterpoint expects Qualcomm to be the second largest player in 5nm chips, partly due to Apple.
Qualcomm will be the second-largest 5nm customer as the iPhone 13 may adopt its X60 modem.
Samsung is said to be running 6-9 months behind Apple chipmaker TSMC, and to hit 5% thanks to a combination of limited use in its own devices and greater supply to external customers like Qualcomm.
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