Stephan Ohr, Consultant, Semiconductor Industry Analyst
EETimes (1/11/2016 00:16 AM EST)
Analog expert Stephan Ohr turns his oscilloscope on the possible impact Apple could have with its new fab in San Jose.
No one outside Apple knows what the iPhone giant will do with the 70,000-square foot analog production line it recently purchased from Maxim. But Apple’s extraordinary ability to get semiconductor suppliers to develop new devices for them — in fact, its ability to swallow entire companies without even belching — suggests Apple could influence the analog market for years to come. So it’s worth asking what Apple is currently doing in analog, what improvements would help them and how many of those improvements are manufacturing related.
We know the North First Street facility includes chip manufacturing equipment from Applied Materials, Hitachi, Novellus, and ASML. The fab will produce roughly 7,000 eight-inch wafers a month at geometries from 0.6-micron down to 90nm. Note: The sweet spot for analog manufacturing is still in the 0.35- to 0.18-micron range.
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