The incident allegedly has no significant impact on the production of chips for the upcoming iPhone generation. Still, given the current situation in the tense semiconductor market, even minor delays could lead to a significant disaster.
According to tech portal Nikkei Asia, the production process at Apple’s main chip factory in Taiwan has been negatively impacted by the supply of contaminated gas. Affected by the contamination is precisely the “Fab 18” baptized production facility, which is the most technologically advanced plant of the production partner TSMC. This factory produces the latest Apple chips, including the SoCs for iPhones and MacBooks, to receive an update in just a few months.
TSMC told Nikkei Asia that the gases used for chip production, in particular, were partially contaminated. However, this was recognized in time, and production could be continued quickly using other gas reserves. Nevertheless, the Taiwanese manufacturer launched an investigation and will significantly increase the corresponding controls to exclude adverse effects on product quality as far as possible. This unpleasant development comes at a very inopportune time for Apple, as the production of the individual components for the upcoming iPhones has been in full swing since May.
According to the plan, the devices should be assembled by the end of August at the latest, which is why even minor breakdowns in production could theoretically lead to a delay in delivering the finished products. Although the incident did not significantly impact TSMC, all employees were still called back to the factory, some of whom were already on their way home.