A captain of the semiconductor industry, Gordon Moore co-founded and ran Intel as its CEO. He also made an observation that the number of transistors used on a chip doubles every other year (originally he said back in 1965 that the number of transistors doubled every year; he revised the law in the early 1970s). This is important to note since the number of transistors used on a chip can determine how powerful and energy-efficient that chip is.
The latest EUV machine is expected to be released in 2023
But as process nodes and transistor sizes continue to drop, how can foundries mark up wafers with lines thin enough to show smaller and smaller features? This was solved with the launch in 2017 of the extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) machine. The industry leader is a Dutch outfit named ASML; the latter says that it has developed the next generation of EUV machines that can help keep Moore’s Law alive as we continue to see more powerful and energy-efficient chipsets powering more powerful phones.
Next year’s iPhone is expected to use a 4nm chipset
As a result, TSMC plans on using a 4nm process node for Apple’s 2022 A-series chipset. As a result, the iPhone 14 line might not be as powerful or energy-efficient as originally thought. Samsung is expected to produce the next-gen Snapdragon 898 SoC also using the 4nm process. That means that we might have to wait until 2023’s iPhone 15 line to see an iPhone contain a 3nm chipset.
Thanks to the next-generation EUV machine, we could see faster iPhone and Android handsets sucking out less battery life up until 2033. And that buys all of those geniuses working at the top foundries some time to find the next big thing that will keep Moore’s Law alive.