Apple’s M3, A17 chips will be first to employ TSMC’s cutting-edge 3nm tech

Apple will be the first company to use Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC)’s N3E, an upgraded version of TSMC’s current 3-nanometer (3nm) production tech. Apple will get the chips next year in the form of the M3 for Macs and iPad, and in the A17 for 2023 iPhone Pro models, Nikkei Asia reports Wednesday, citing “sources briefed on the matter.”

chip

Cheng Ting-Fang for Nikkei Asia:

The A17 mobile processor currently under development will be mass-produced using TSMC’s N3E chipmaking tech, expected to be available in the second half of next year, according to three people familiar with the matter. The A17 will be used in the premium entry in the iPhone lineup slated for release in 2023, they said.

N3E is an upgraded version of TSMC’s current 3-nanometer production tech, which is only starting to go into use this year. The next generation of Apple’s M3 chip for its Mac offerings is also set to use the upgraded 3-nm tech, two sources added.

N3E will offer better performance and energy efficiency than the first version of the tech, TSMC said in a recent technology symposium in Hsinchu. Industry sources said the upgraded production tech is also designed to be more cost-effective than its predecessor.

As TSMC’s largest customer and the biggest driver for new semiconductor technologies, Apple is still its most loyal partner when it comes to adopting the latest chip technology. The U.S. tech giant will be the first to use TSMC’s first generation of 3-nm technology, using it for some of its upcoming iPads, Nikkei Asia reported earlier.

According to [chief analyst with Semianalysis Dylan Patel]’s estimate, there is a cost increase of at least 40% for the same area of silicon when moving to 3-nm chips from the 5-nm family, which includes 4-nm chips.

MacDailyNews Take: The so-called “competition” simply cannot compete.

A16 Bionic is the fastest chip ever in a smartphone. The competition is still working to catch up with the A13 which we first introduced in iPhone 11 three years ago. The new 6-core CPU is generations ahead. It’s up to a whopping 40% faster than the competition. The CPU uses our best-in-class fusion architecture which delivers both leading performance and leading efficiency. Our two high-performance cores are faster and use 20% lower power compared to the A15 Bionic. And most daily tasks can be handled by our high-efficiency cores. At the same performance level, these new efficiency cores use one-third the power of even the best of the efficiency cores from the competition.

Greg Joswiak, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, September 7, 2022

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3 Comments

  1. I want my 12 Pro to survive another year. I have a feeling the iPhone 15 will be the one to wait for. Perhaps by then it will have USB-C or fully wireless. I just don’t understand why apple devices still have come with lighting.

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