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A Critical iPhone 8 Feature Is Already in Production

Apple's next round of iPhones will soon be powered by a component that's now going into production, according to a new report.

iPhone 8 Concept. Credit: Martin Hajek

(Image credit: iPhone 8 Concept. Credit: Martin Hajek)

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) has started production on Apple's next iPhone processor, the 10-nanometer A11, Digitimes is reporting, citing sources who claim to have knowledge of the component maker's plans. The sources didn't say how powerful the chip might be and whether the suppliers have any indication when Apple might be planning to release the device.

Apple has been rumored to be working on three new iPhones this year, including one, currently known as the iPhone 8, that could deliver major updates over last year's iPhone 7 models. The iPhone 8 could come with an all-glass design, an OLED screen instead of the LCDs Apple has relied upon in years past, and a larger screen that takes advantage of Apple's reported plans to remove the Touch ID sensor beneath the display. Apple could move the fingerprint sensor to underneath the screen.

MORE: The iPhone 8 We've Been Waiting for Looks Like This

While the iPhone 8 will deliver several major upgrades over the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, which are also expected to be available this year, the internal components might not be all that different. In fact, several reports suggest the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will both run on the same A11 processor that Apple could ultimately bundle with its iPhone 8.

In the first alleged leaked benchmarks of the iPhone 8 using the A11 chip, the iPhone 8 blew away the Galaxy S8 on the Geekbench 4 performance benchmark.

According to Digitimes, there had been some fear in Apple's supply chain that its A11 processor might be delayed due to some problems with stacking components in the chip's "backend integrated fan-out packaging process." However, the sources told Digitimes that the problems were worked out and Apple's chip production is now on schedule.

The big question, though, is exactly when the iPhone might actually make its debut. Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Apple's iPhone 8 might be delayed a couple of months due to production concerns. And at least for now, the company's chip production suppliers aren't pinpointing a release date. But at least one major component seems to be in the works.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.