The factory, known as “Fab 18,” is TSMC’s most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple’s sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip.
Industry sources speaking to Nikkei Asia said that all of the processors for Apple’s upcoming iPhone and Mac devices are produced at this facility. This presumably translates to the iPhone 13 lineup and redesigned MacBook Pro models with Apple silicon, containing the “A15” and “M1X” or “M2” chips.
Gas used in the production of these chips was found to be contaminated on Thursday night. TSMC told Nikkei Asia: “Some TSMC production lines in the South Taiwan Science Park received certain gases from suppliers that are believed to be contaminated. These were quickly replaced with other gas supplies.” Employees who had gone home were called back to the factory to bring the situation under control.
The company said that it is carrying out follow-up operations to ensure that product quality is not affected, and the incident is not believed to have caused a “significant impact on operations.” Sources speaking to Nikkei Asia said that the gas contamination had affected the chip manufacturing process, but only in a limited way.
The contamination comes at a particularly bad time for Apple, as the company and its suppliers are currently said to be finalizing components for the final assembly process of new iPhone and Mac models by the end of August.
The iPhone 13 lineup is expected to launch in Apple’s normal September timeframe. Redesigned MacBook Pro models featuring Apple silicon chips are also still expected to arrive this year, either alongside the iPhone 13 in September or at a separate event around October.