Apple is reportedly planning to start buying chips made in the US and Europe, according to a report from Bloomberg that cites comments made by Tim Cook at an internal meeting. Apple has “already made a decision to be buying out of a plant in Arizona” that’s due to begin production in 2024, meaning that the company could start using those chips in around two years, according to the reported comments from Cook. He also said that Apple hopes to “source from Europe as those plans become more apparent.”
Apple’s custom-designed chips, such as the M2 chip that powers its newest MacBooks and the iPhone’s A-series processors, are mainly produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC. As the company’s name implies, most of its fabs are located in Taiwan, though it currently has an advanced facility being constructed in Arizona, which will likely start producing chips in 2024.
If Apple wants chips from the US, it has choices
It seems likely that’s the fab that Apple plans to buy chips from, given that it already does a lot of work with TSMC. It is, however, not the only company building a facility there; Intel also has plans to build an additional Arizona factory that’s set to open in 2024, spurred on by the US government passing legislation to invest over $50 billion in domestic semiconductor production. Intel has said it plans on producing chips for other companies, rather than just making its own processors, but it seems unlikely that Apple plans on making it an important part of its chip strategy going forward. The company’s cutting-edge tech is widely considered to be not as advanced as TSMC’s, which was almost certainly a factor in Apple’s silicon transition for its Mac lineup.
Regardless of which company or companies end up making Apple’s chips in the US and Europe, it’s not necessarily surprising that the company is looking into purchasing production capacity outside of Asia. The company has been looking to geographically diversify other parts of its supply chain too, and has been ramping up its iPhone production in India over the past few years. As of 2020, it had started producing some AirPods in Vietnam, and there are reports that it’s doing the same for MacBooks, Apple Watches, and iPads.