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posted by janrinok on Friday September 15, @02:33AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Apple chief Tim Cook previously announced that the tech giant will be purchasing chips for its iPhones, Macs and other key products made in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) new factory in Phoenix, Arizona. It seemed like a huge win for the Biden administration, which signs the CHIPS Act into law last year to boost manufacturing in the US and lessen its reliance on overseas suppliers. Now, The Information has reported that even though the components for Apple's chips will be manufactured in the US, they'll still have to be sent back to TSMC's home country for assembly.

Apparently, the manufacturer's factory in Arizona doesn't have the facilities to package its customers' more advanced chips. "Packaging" is what you call the final stage of fabrication, wherein the chip's components are assembled inside a housing as close together as possible to enhance speed and power efficiency. The iPhone, in particular, has been using a packaging method developed by TSMC since 2016. Chips for iPads and Macs can be packaged outside of Taiwan, but the iPhone's will have to be assembled in the country.

[...] Seeing as the government recently established (PDF) a National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing program to boost chip packaging in the US, it's aware of the need to bring the process into the country, as well. Apple and all the aforementioned TSMC clients aren't the only companies whose chips have to be sent overseas for assembly, since manufacturers aren't making enough products in the US to justify building packaging facilities in the country. However, that program is only getting $2.5 billion in funding under the CHIPS Act, and the Institute of Printed Circuits told the publication that the amount shows packaging isn't being prioritized. As for TSMC, The Information's sources said it has no plans to build packaging facilities in the US due to the huge costs involved, and any future packaging method it develops will most likely be offered in Taiwan.

Original Submission

Related Stories

TSMC and Arizona in Discussions Over Bringing Advanced Chip Packaging Facility to the State 2 comments

TSMC Reportedly Mulls Advanced Chip Packaging Facility in Arizona

TSMC is in talks with Arizona officials to build its chip packaging facility in the state, Katie Hobbs, governor of Arizona, said in Taipei after visiting the world's No.1 foundry's headquarters, reports Bloomberg. If the plan comes to fruition, then TSMC's will have a vertically integrated chip production chain in the USA for the first time ever.

TSMC has built Fab 21 in Arizona and is currently installing production tools there. The company is also building up the second phase of the fab and has approved plans to invest $40 billion in these two production facilities. But the company apparently does not want to stop there and is discussing the possibility of building an advanced packaging fab in the state, too, as this will help it to assemble complex system-in-packages for its clients from the U.S. on American soil.

Previously: Apple Chips Made In The US Still Require Assembly In Taiwan, Report Suggests

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Touché) by takyon on Friday September 15, @08:40AM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday September 15, @08:40AM (#1324763) Journal []

    Defeats the point, and could eliminate any cost/time advantages for U.S. consumers.

    CHIPS Act II: Send another $50 billion!

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    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Friday September 15, @10:14AM

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Friday September 15, @10:14AM (#1324768)

      It shows that it takes decades to build up this sort of capability. Getting half way there is still progress.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by shrewdsheep on Friday September 15, @10:27AM

      by shrewdsheep (5215) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 15, @10:27AM (#1324774)

      My gripe with the chip act (similar one in Europe which is copy-catting the US for decades now) is that I do not see how know-how is transferred. Building new factories at home removes but the least important factor in future-proving access to chip technology.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 15, @10:22AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 15, @10:22AM (#1324770)

    So what, people were expecting the entire production chain to move country overnight because of one facility? Microprocessor manufacturing is one of the most complex and intricate supply and production chains the world has ever known. It's not the kind of thing that can be packed up and relocated in one go.
    If your end goal is to move a mountain, you've got to do it piece by piece.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday September 15, @03:04PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday September 15, @03:04PM (#1324811) Journal

      I don't think people expect the chips to need to be shipped from USA to Taiwan to USA (if they are sold here, which is likely since it is one of the biggest markets). That is a disaster.

      It's not as if semiconductor manufacturing hasn't taken place here for decades.

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  • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Friday September 15, @12:48PM (2 children)

    by DadaDoofy (23827) on Friday September 15, @12:48PM (#1324797)

    In spite of Apple's incessant virtue signaling about carbon this and net-zero that, they have to ship those chips in vessels that burn oil. And no, people aren't stupid enough to believe buying carbon credits keeps the carbon dioxide billowing from these ships from entering the atmosphere. If they really cared about the environment rather than propping up the Biden administration's failed political narrative about the CHIPS Act, this would not be happening.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Friday September 15, @01:21PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday September 15, @01:21PM (#1324802) Journal

      It was potentially worse, because they were using air shipping. But they are heavily marketing as "carbon neutral". This is from their Watch/iPhone event 3 days ago: []

      Transporting products around the world makes up about 9 percent of Apple’s comprehensive carbon footprint. The company is shifting more product volume to shipping modes that are less carbon-intensive than air transport, such as ocean or rail. Apple’s carbon footprint methodology shows that shipping the same product by ocean emits 95 percent fewer emissions than by air.

      For the carbon neutral Apple Watch models, including watches and bands, the company will ship at least 50 percent of the combined weight using non-air modes, cutting total transportation emissions nearly in half. Additionally, the packaging of all Apple Watch Series 9 and SE models has been redesigned for compactness, with a new, smaller shape that allows for 25 percent more devices per shipment.

      At the same time, Apple is committed to supporting broader efforts to decarbonize shipping industries, such as by being a member of the First Movers Coalition, and by supporting analysis to identify pathways for developing sustainable aviation fuels. The company also seeks out technical innovations — including the use of alternative fuels and electric vehicles — and selects vendors that offer low-carbon options to help further drive decarbonization in the industry.

      Apple buyers will believe just about anything Apple says.

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      • (Score: 3, Funny) by DadaDoofy on Friday September 15, @03:21PM

        by DadaDoofy (23827) on Friday September 15, @03:21PM (#1324813)

        I have a house full of Apple products and I'm an Apple developer, but I found the video they ran at that event - with "Mother Nature" eco-shaming various Apple executives - so embarrassingly cringeworthy, I had to turn it off.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ElizabethGreene on Friday September 15, @03:34PM

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Friday September 15, @03:34PM (#1324814) Journal

    It's a start, but there's a long way to go. Don't be fooled by the headline, either. The gap goes FAR beyond packaging. The US has spent the last four decades offshoring pretty much everything after the design stage. Decades of capex fled our borders in pursuit of cheap labor. Asking a single chip plant to fix that is a bit much. Even if you've got a magic fairy that poops chips out by the reel, turning those into usable products requires PCB manufacturers, supplemental components, pick/place/solder production lines, casting/machining/injection molding facilities for the non-electronic components, etc.

    We're critically dependent on foreign manufacturing. It is what it is.

    ... But American greatness, power of free market, Eagles, flags, fireworks?!
    I'm with you; I'm a patriot too. That said, the flag I fly had a "Made in USA with global materials" sticker on the package. We have to be honest about where we are.