Apple chip supplier TSMC is being forced to slow down the expansion of its 3nm chip process due to an issue with Intel, according to a new report. Apple’s iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max are still expected to feature A17 Bionic chips built on the 3nm process.
iPhone 16 Pro, iPhone 16 Pro Max to feature chips based on 3nm process
As reported by TrendForce, Intel planned to outsource the production of its GPU chipset in Meteor Lake to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) by the second half of this year. However, Intel’s chipset has now been delayed to 2023 due to product design and process verification issues.
The publication goes on to report that TSMC’s plans to expand the production of its 3nm chips have been significantly affected by this change and the company is now being forced to slow down production. It is adjusting equipment orders for 2023 and adjusting the scale of its CapEx planning for 2023, which is now expected to be lower than in 2022.
TrendForce indicates that this incident has greatly affected TSMC’s production expansion plan, resulting in Apple being the one company among the first wave of 3nm process clients from 2H22 to the start 2023 with products including M series chips and A17 Bionic.
In view of this, TSMC has decided to slow the progress of its production expansion to ensure production capacity is not excessively idle, leading to massive cost amortization pressure.
The Cupertino tech giant is now one of the biggest customers for TSMC’s 3nm chips, among others. The A16 Bionic chip which is slated to be featured in this year’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are going to be based on TSMC’s 4nm process. The standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max will come equipped with last year’s A15 Bionic processors.
By 2024, however, Apple is expected to completely switch to TSMC’s 3nm process for the iPhone 15 lineup with the A17 Bionic chip. It is expected that the higher-end models will feature the upgraded chip while the standard models will have 2023’s chips. It is also reported that the 3nm process will arrive in multiple variants to further differentiate some Apple products in terms of efficiency and performance.