Apple to adopt TSMC’s 3nm chips, report claims
When not working to boost global peace and justice, I spend time considering the Apple Silicon road map and what it looks like. This is a little easier to decipher on news Apple has agreed a deal for 3nm chip supply with TSMC.
TSMC secures Apple for 3nm chips
Apple already ships arguably the most sophisticated processors in the industry, based on performance per watt and the many integrated features on the SoC.
The current M1/A14 processors are based on the 5nm process, far ahead of most of the rest of the business. These are ARM-based chips refined by Apple’s teams of silicon magicians and manufactured by TSMC.
Now Apple will adopt TSMC’s forthcoming 3nm chip process, a report claims.
These won’t appear in Apple devices before 2022 at the earliest, they are on the way, says a Taiwan News report.
(An earlier TrendForce report predicted a slightly slower time scale, and things happen when developing new ‘stuff’, so the schedule could still slip and nothing is certain until announcements are made).
“Apple is the first company to contract TSMC’s initial 3 nm production capacity to produce its own M-series processors for the next generation of Mac notebooks and iPads and for A-series processors for the iPhone,” the report claims, citing UDN.
iPhone 14? Yet another big step forward
TSMC is currently constructing its fabrication center for the new chips in Taiwan and plans to trial production in 2021 with a view to begin mass production in the second half of 2022. (That’s just in time for an iPhone).
TSMC claims we’ll see 15% performance gain and the processors will require 30% less power than the current chips. Logic density increases by 70% on the FinFET transistor chips. No wonder Apple’s executives are stoked.
With Apple’s Macs, iPhones, iPads and (we expect) soon Apple TV all coalesced around the new processors, even while reports concerning Apple Car’s now purported 2024 introduction, it’s pretty clear a lot will be expected from these new Apple chips when they appear.
Indeed, Apple’s decision to move into processor development has turned this part of the company into a global powerhouse, winning praise from across the industry. Former president of Microsoft’s Windows division, Steven Sinofsky in June said:
13/ Watching today's WWDC you can see a clear and relentless prioritization of that multi-year strategy across a MASSIVE product development team. It is really amazing to see and I really believe under appreciated. I am fond of the expression "don't ship the org chart"…
— Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) June 23, 2020
It combines talents acquired with PA Semi, Intrinsity, Passif Semi, Dialog Semi, and elements of Infineon acquired along with Intel’s modem dev teams. It also boasts supporting sensors and other technologies such as machine learning, computer vision and AI.