2023 will likely bring 3nm chips for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad
According to a report from Nikkei Asia, iPhones and Macs released in 2023 could feature processors made using a new 3nm chip technology from TSMC. The A17 and M3 processors will be made using this new method and will arrive in iPhones and Macs in the second half of next year.
December 2021 reports said that after some setbacks, TSMC had begun production of 3nm chips, and it was believed that the first 3nm to be used by Apple would be the M3 for the Mac and the A17 for the iPhone. This new report from Nikkei Asia says that TSMC has developed a new “N3E chipmaking technology” which is an upgrade of the previous method.
The nanometer (nm) size of a chip refers to the width between the transistors of a chip. A smaller size allows for more transistors, which can result in better performance. Apple’s M1 and M2 Macs have 5nm chips, while the new iPhone 14 Pro has a 4nm A16 Bionic chip, but as Macworld’s Jason Cross points out, it’s not actually made with a 4nm process, but an improved 5nm process.
According to TSMC, N3E is better than the previous method because it creates chips with better performance and energy efficiency. iPads in 2023 could also have 3nm chips, but those chips will be made using TSMC’s first-generation 3nm process, according to Nikkei Asia.
Apple’s first devices with a 3nm chip could ship in the first quarter of 2023, which would also make the company first to market, beating other companies with 3nm plans such as Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung.