How US wants to fix Apple’s ‘problematic’ plan to make chips in Arizona

How US wants to fix Apple’s ‘problematic’ plan to make chips in Arizona

Last week, a report ‘uncovered’ some ‘problems’ in Apple’s plan to make chips in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) Arizona plant. It said that despite many advanced chips made in Arizona, which will be used in iPhones, MacBooks and iPads, Apple will still have to send those chips for assembly in Taiwan. As per the latest development, the Arizona governor has said that the state is in talks with the chipmaker on advanced packaging in the US itself.

Amazon governor Katie Hobbs said the company is in talks with TSMC on advanced packaging. TSMC is investing $40 billion to build two chip fabrication facilities in Arizona.

“Part of our efforts at building the semiconductor ecosystem is focusing on advanced packaging, so we have several things in the works around that right now,” news agency Reuters quoted Hobbs as saying.

“Packaging” is a final stage of fabrication in which the chip’s components are assembled inside a housing. The more the components are closely stacked together, the more power efficiency a provides.

What TSMC has to say
TSMC said that the company updated the governor on the “positive” progress made on the Arizona fabs, however, the chipmaker did not directly mention plans for advanced packaging facilities.

“We believe the dialogues that we held during this visit will help us to work together even more closely in the future,” TSMC said.

Apple’s chip making plans
US President Joe Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced plans to start using chips made in TSMC’s Arizona factory as a measure to cut the dependency on China. At that time, Cook said that these chips will power iPhones and MacBooks, among other Apple products.

However, a report by The Information claimed that the Arizona factory “will do little to make the US self-reliant in chips” as they need to go back to Taiwan for packaging. It must be noted that TSMC chips used by customers such as Nvidia, AMD and Tesla are also packaged in Taiwan.

The report also claimed that TSMC has no plans to build packaging facilities in the US due to the huge costs involved. The production in TSMC Arizona factory is scheduled to begin in 2024. The Taiwanese chipmaker’s second fab is scheduled to begin production of 3nm process technology in 2026.


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