Apple's TSMC vendor began mass-producing processors for this year's new iPhones line, according to Bloomberg. The chip, which will be called A12, could be the first to use a 7-nanometer process in a commercial device, something that the technology industry has been working on for years.
7nm technology refers to the density of transistors on a chip, although precise specifications may differ between manufacturers. The use of a smaller process allows chips to be smaller, faster and more efficient, and over time can lead to cost savings. The main current processors in smartphones, such as Apple's A11 Bionic and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845, are made with a 10nm process.
Samsung announced today that it will be ready to start producing 7nm chips at scale next year. The company has manufactured iPhone chips in the past and has shared production with TSMC on the A9 chip on the iPhone 6S, but TSMC has been Apple's exclusive SoC partner ever since.
Apple is expected to release three iPhone models this fall: an upgrade to the iPhone X, a variant of Plus size and a lower-priced device with a 6.1-inch LCD screen.