Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has recently begun to tape out the design for Apple's A11 processor built on a 10nm FinFET process, according to industry sources.
Tapeout is a major milestone reached when the design phase is completed and you are ready to send out the chip's layout to the fab for production.
Sources tell the site that TSMC expects to achieved certification on its 10nm process in the fourth quarter of 2016. It will deliver product samples for validation in the first quarter of 2017.
Production of Apple A11 chips could start as early as Q2 2017 with TSMC seeing revenues from it in the third quarter.
TSMC is said to get about two thirds of chip orders for the A11 and Apple will likely launch the processor in the second half of 2017.