The current global component shortage has begun to affect Apple at various levels, but one area where the company has made extra efforts to protect its supply lines is processors. Apple has an agreement with the Taiwanese firm TSMC that gives preferential access to the production of processor chips with the latest manufacturing technology.

DigiTimes (subscription required) reports that TSMC has now begun production of the A15 chip that will be in this year's iPhone 13 models, which are expected to be launched, as usual, in September. That production has begun in May is a good sign - in April we reported that it was expected to begin this month - and suggests that things are on track for the planned release.

Last year, of course, the pandemic caused delays to the launch of the 12-series iPhones, which weren't announced until October. Two of the handsets didn't even become available until November, and Apple will be very keen to avoid the same scenario playing out in 2021.

The A15 is being manufactured, just like the A14, with TSMC's 5nm (nanometre) process: improvements instead come from the architectural design side, and from using a 'refined' version of the 5nm process. Our colleagues on Macworld US have gone in-depth to explain how fast the A15 will be.

According to sources, next year's A16 (on the iPhone 14) will be manufactured with a new 4nm or even 3nm process. That's when the really major upgrades in power efficiency will be possible.

You can keep up with the latest rumours in our iPhone 13 news hub. If you don't want to wait until the autumn, catch a bargain on the current range with our guide to the best iPhone deals.

This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation by David Price.