Apple’s M3 chip and A17 chip will use TSMC’s 3nm process

Apple will be the first company to use TSMC’s next-generation 3nm manufacturing process for its A17 and M3 chips for iPhone 15 and Macs, respectively. Apple recently re-used TSMC’s 5nm process for the A15 chip in iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, and 4nm process for the A16 chip in iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

A17 chip

A17 chip to use next-gen 3nm process, while M2 chip for iPad could use first-gen 3nm process

As per a new report by Nikkei, Apple’s A17 chip is currently in development and will be mass produced using TSMC’s N3E manufactring process. N3E is an upgrade to TSMC’s current 3nm process which was put in production this year, however, Apple has not used this for any of its chips so far. Apple’s M3 chips for Macs are also expecting to use the new N3E process.

Compared to the current 3nm process in use by TSMC, N3E will offer even better performance and energy efficiency, as well as cost lower to production. Nikkei reports that Apple will be using the first-generation version of TSMC’s 3nm process for the chips in its upcoming iPad models, which are expected to feature an M2 chip. This will make the iPad’s M2 chips different than the ones currently in use in the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. This could potentially mean that Apple might also use the 3nm manufacturing process for its M2 chip in the next-generation MacBook Pro, however, this is not corroborated by any sources yet.

Nikkei also notes that Apple is expected to continue to differentiate between its future iPhone models by using older chips in the non-Pro models. This is due to a cost increase of 40% when moving from 5nm to 3nm or 4nm. 

Even though there is almost a year to go before the iPhone 15 lineup is announced, we have been receiving rumors from various sources. Analysts have said that all iPhone 15 models will feature the Dynamic Island as they will all have the pill+hole notch. It is also expected that iPhone 15 Pro models will feature 5x optical zoom thanks to a periscope lens

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