Apple could utilize TSMC’s 3nm technology for its upcoming silicon
Back in 2020, the iPhone maker launched its first Apple silicon Mac. Since then, the company has been slowly retiring Intel processors across the Mac line and introducing upgrades to its own chipsets. The great iPhones and versatile iPads you depend on have been packing Apple silicon for many years now. With each generation, the Cupertino firm attempts to further boost performance while maintaining power efficiency. A report has now revealed that Apple could be the first company in the world to adopt TSMC’s N3E — a 3nm fabrication process. We could see the results of this as early as 2023 when it launches its newest chipsets.
The future of Apple silicon
According to Nikkei, Apple could be moving away from the 5nm family (which includes the 4nm tech) when it releases the A17 Bionic and M3 chips. The Cupertino overlord would reportedly utilize the 3nm technology which is currently unavailable on consumer products.
For those unfamiliar with this tech, the mentioned size in nanometer refers to the width between transistors on a chipset. So the smaller the number is, the more power efficient it becomes, and the more space opens up to add additional transistors. By squeezing more transistors into the same area, the company could produce mightier devices — without needing to increase their sizes. Though, the production costs would increase by around 40% when comparing them to those of the 5nm and 4nm family.
2023 could mark the second year in a row that Apple uses TSMC’s most advanced chipmaking technology for only a part of its iPhone lineup. In 2022, only the premium iPhone 14 Pro range has adopted the latest A16 core processor, which is produced by TSMC’s 4-nm process technologies, the most advanced currently available. The standard iPhone 14 range uses the older A15, which was used in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models released in the second half of 2021.
Unsurprisingly, Apple might keep the 3nm A17 Bionic chip as an iPhone 15 Pro exclusive. The company has already started using older processors on regular iPhones. This strategy is allegedly an attempt to further distinguish and boost the sales of Pro models. As a result, we expect this move to become the new norm indefinitely.
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