Apple is set to move a key aspect of iPhone production to the United States, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Apple will reportedly begin sourcing at least some of its Apple Silicon processors from an upcoming TSMC factory currently being built in Arizona.
Tim Cook revealed these plans during a meeting with Apple engineers and retail employees in Germany, which occurred during his recent trek across Europe. The Apple CEO explained that it will start buying chips from the plant in Arizona sometime around 2024. Some production could also happen in Europe as more factories take shape there:
“We’ve already made a decision to be buying out of a plant in Arizona, and this plant in Arizona starts up in ’24, so we’ve got about two years ahead of us on that one, maybe a little less,” Cook told the employees. “And in Europe, I’m sure that we will also source from Europe as those plans become more apparent,” he said at the meeting, which included Apple services chief Eddy Cue and Deirdre O’Brien, its head of retail and human resources.
While Cook didn’t get any more specific, he is likely referring to a factory being built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company in Arizona. TSMC is the exclusive supplier of the Apple Silicon processors Apple uses in all of its products, including the flagship A-series processors as well as the M-series chips used in the Mac.
As Bloomberg points out, the TSMC factory in China is currently slated to open in 2024. TSMC has said the factory will start out with 5nm chip production, which would be at least one generation behind the technology Apple uses in its products. “TSMC could theoretically introduce advanced production more quickly than it has so far announced,” the report says.
A lingering question is whether the factory as planned is suited to Apple’s needs. The Taiwanese company has said that the plant will initially have a capacity of 20,000 chips per month and use a 5-nanometer production process. That wouldn’t satisfy Apple’s near-future desire for more advanced, 3-nanometer chips.
The move comes as Apple continues to diversify its supply chain to different parts of the world. “Regardless of what you may feel and think, 60% coming out of anywhere is probably not a strategic position,” Cook said in reference to the current reliance on Taiwan for chips.
“I think you will wind up seeing a significant investment in capability and capacity in both the United States and Europe to try to reorient the market share of where silicon is produced,” Cook added.
Additionally, the US government has recently started offering a number of lucrative incentives to boost chip production in the country. Through the Chips and Science Act, there are more than $50 billion in incentives available for semiconductor production that occurs in the United States.
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