iPhone 13 secret weapon just went into production

iphone 13 mini renders
(Image credit: SvetApple)

Chip shortages may be dogging other consumer electronic products, as you'd know if you've tried checking PS5 stock or Xbox Series S inventory lately. But it sounds like the iPhone 13 is on track to avoid any chip-related delays.

Digitimes reports that chip supplier TSMC is beginning production on the Apple-designed A15 Bionic processor. That's the chip expected to power the four iPhone 13 models that are rumored for a fall release.

As near as we can tell, that puts the iPhone 13 on track for a launch in Apple's usual September window for new phone releases. At the very least, it means work on the A15 is proceeding as expected — a report from earlier this spring said that A15 production would begin in late May, and that's exactly what appears to be happening based on the Digitimes story.

Even better for the iPhone 13's prospects is the news that TSMC will soon be able to ramp up the volume of chip output — it should be producing up to 150,000 wafers monthly during this quarter, Digitimes reports. That means the A15 would be produced in greater volume than the A14 Bionic that powers the iPhone 12 lineup.

Like the A14, the A15 Bionic is built using a 5-nanometer process; a 4-nanometer Apple chip isn't expected to reach iPhones until next year. That means the A15 is likely an iterative improvement over the A14 in terms of processing power and efficiency.

Still, that's likely enough to keep the A15-powered iPhones at the head of the class when it comes to performance. The A14 already outperforms leading Android phones running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 in many benchmarks, as we saw when we ran speed tests on the Galaxy S21 family.

The A15 processor is just one change coming to the iPhone 13 lineup. All four phones are expected to feature smaller notches, increasing the amount screen space on the new iPhones. The Pro models should feature displays with 120Hz refresh rates, and we're also expecting camera improvements.

Assuming that Apple stays on track with other aspects of iPhone 13 production, the new phones should arrive in early September, though we're still waiting to hear more concrete information on a launch date.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.