Rumor | iPads in 2018 could be based on the 7nm Apple A11X Bionic octa-core CPU
If rumor on the street is to be believed, we could very well see a 7nm Apple SoC in the next generation iPad, possibly dubbed the A11X Bionic. Speculation is that the chip could be out by Q1 or Q2 2018 and TSMC will be in-charge of the design and production of the SoC.
The A11X will feature an octa-core design with 3 high performance 'Monsoon' cores and 5 low power 'Mistral' cores (the current A11 Bionic in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 features 2 'Monsoon' and 4 'Mistral' cores) along with the M11 motion co-processor and the neural computing unit (NCU). The A11X will also feature TSMC's Integrated Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging (InFO-WLP). Think of InFO-WLP as a miniaturized version of the EMIB interconnect that features in the recently announced Intel-AMD Multi-Chip Module (MCM). Essentially, InFO-WLP enables buried interconnects directly within the substratum instead of making individual circuits out of various wafer slices, thereby, enabling smaller chips that find use in smartphones and the likes.
Since the debut of the A10, Apple has preferred TSMC as its SoC supplier of choice. The A10 was also the first chip to feature InFO-WLP and we will very well see this partnership continue for the foreseeable future well into the development of the A12. Apple's ingenuity in chip engineering combined with TSMC's packaging advancements could very well be the reason why Apple's SoCs have set the bar in mobile CPU performance.