A17 Bionic will be the first 3nm chip and will power iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

The very first processor built on a 3nm process, A17 Bionic will debut in Apple’s new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro models in September. The Information’s latest report accredits this milestone to a secret “sweetheart deal” between the tech giant and its long-term supplier, Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).


TSMC is the world’s largest and most valuable semiconductor company. Its partnership with Apple began in 2014 with the manufacturing of A-series SoC (system on a chip) for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and other products. Over the years, the partnership expanded to the production of S-series chips for the Apple Watch, H-series chips for AirPods, and the latest M-series chips for Macs. 

It also manufactures W-series chips for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and its U-series, Ultrawide Band chips for spatial awareness across Apple devices.

Apple - TSMC

A “sweetheart deal” between Apple and TSMC led to development of state-of-the-art A17 chip

As Apple is TSMC’s largest customer, it is no surprise that the chip fab manufacturer signed a special agreement with the Cupertino tech giant. According to the report, TSMC agreed to exclusively produce 3nm chips for Apple in the first years of the tech’s debut and more importantly put itself on the line for the cost of defects in A17 production. 

Recently, Apple shared that it has an active installed base of 1.8 billion devices. Maybe, that was the impetus behind TSMC’s willingness to bear the cost of defects ” that inevitably crop up in a new manufacturing process.” It is also reported that the M3 chip for future Macs will also be built on a 3nm process.

iPhone 15 Pro - A17 chip

In November 2020, it was reported that TSMC would start mass production of 3nm chips in 2022 for Apple devices. Using the FinFET fin field effect transistors, TSMC 3nm tech would deliver improved performance and power efficiency than 5nm chips. 

Currently, the 5nm process is used in the A15 chip used in, iPhone SE (2022), iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 14, and iPad mini 6, the A16 chip in iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and M2-series chips in Macs including M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra.

The tech giant is expected to host the September event on the 12th to launch the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, along with Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra (second generation), iPad mini 7 and other devices.

About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.

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