TSMC on track for 3nm Apple ‘A16’ chips in 2022

Apple-supplier TSMC continues to move right along with its manufacturing processes. The Taiwan-based high-end chip foundry maintains that its 3nm fab project remains on schedule, ready for risk production in 2021 followed by volume production in the second half of 2022.


TSMC has already entered volume production for 5nm node, and it is reportedly developing variants for the 5nm process… including a further enhanced 5nm node in addition to 5nm Plus, according to sources at IC inspection services companies and chipmaking materials suppliers.

Malcolm Owen for AppleInsider:

TSMC working on 3nm chipsIf accurate, and based on typical iPhone production schedules, this could lead to the Apple-designed A15 at the absolute earliest or more realistically, the A16 chip in 2022 using the process.

It is thought Apple is using TSMC’s 5nm processes to create the next generation of A-series chips destined for the “iPhone 12” tentatively titled the “A14,” with production scheduled for mid-2020. In April, it was reported Apple increased its chip order for the fourth quarter of 2020, potentially due to an anticipated higher demand for the annual iPhone refresh.

TSMC is also intending to move some of its chip production to the United States, in a factory in Arizona thought to cost $12 billion… with construction commencing in 2021 and chip production expected to start in 2024… [offering] the prospect of some A-series chips being made on U.S. soil.

MacDailyNews Take: Amazingly, the reductions in silicon transistors keep on coming in regular intervals:

Semiconductor device fabrication
MOSFET scaling (process nodes)

10 µm – 1971
6 µm – 1974
3 µm – 1977
1.5 µm – 1981
1 µm – 1984
800 nm – 1987
600 nm – 1990
350 nm – 1993
250 nm – 1996
180 nm – 1999
130 nm – 2001
90 nm – 2003
65 nm – 2005
45 nm – 2007
32 nm – 2009
22 nm – 2012
14 nm – 2014
10 nm – 2016
7 nm – 2018
5 nm – ~2020
3 nm – ~2022

µm – micrometer (one millionth of a meter)
nm – nanometer (one billionth of a meter)


  1. My mind boggles at how many transistors are going to be packed into an A16. One would think that an ARM chip with such a huge amount of transistors would be more powerful than what most consumer-based Intel X86 processors could manage. I don’t know if they can be compared in the same way but Apple chips will be smaller and more efficient than what Intel has to offer. It sounds rather exciting to hear Apple fighting up there with NVidia and AMD for processor props. I hope it earns Apple some respect as being a still-relevant company.

  2. Sadly Intel executives chose to milk what they had With people dancing in shell suits and ‘intel inside adverts’ for too many years thinking there will never have competition rather then invest in improving the process of size and efficiency and now they are a dead company walking.

    1. They’ll be around for a minute, lolz… …although they’re still laggards. The announcement today still relies partly on 10 nanometer technology….

      “Intel has announced its first ‘Lakefield’ hybrid CPUs to make use of its Foveros 3D chip stacking technology….

      Foveros technology enables the CPU to sit within a tiny 12mm x 12mm package and is just 1mm thick. Intel claims this allows the new CPUs to offer up to 12 percent higher single-threaded performance, up to 91 percent lower standby power and up to 24 higher power effiency.”


      Remember, AMD was definitely on its last legs once or twice.

      And for that matter so was a certain Cupertino California-based PC maker in the 1990s…

  3. I wish Apple would have bought TSMC years ago. Definitely one company that seems to know what they are doing. Makes more sense than pouring money down the Japan Display drain.
    Where are intel? Still at 10nm I think.

  4. You can’t buy any Asian company at any price in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, nor most major German companies if you are a FOREIGNER. English speaking countries however buy what you like most of the time.

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