Digitimes says TSMC is on track for 3nm (iPhone?) chips |
On the tracks
Apple’s chip manufacturing partner, TSMC will move to 4nm chip production in Q3 2021 with 3nm nodes set to hit production in 2H22, says DigiTimes.
That’s significant as both these periods match Apple’s customary product launch times, and both marry well with prior speculation that it intends moving to these smaller processors in these time frames.
The move also pushes Apple to industry leadership and despite Intel’s lonely campaign, means its devices will now be among the fastest and most powerful low power chips in the world.
The schedule may suggest the company’s plans around new processor introductions.
M1, M1X, M2?
We already expect a souped-up version of the M1 chip (possibly called M1X) to appear in future MacBook Pro models. And we also anticipate the chip, or an even better successor, may appear in the Mac Pro at some point.
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.
This is by no means the first time we’ve heard about Apple’s road map for chip development, which puts it years ahead of competitors.
TSMC has previously claimed we can expect a 15% performance gain and that 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.
Apple’s chip development teams include talents acquired with PA Semi, Intrinsity, Passif Semi, Dialog Semi, and elements of Infineon acquired along with Intel’s modem dev teams. They have reason to take pride in their work, because at this stage it seems likely that very, very soon they’ll be making the processors that drive not just the fastest smartphones in the world, but the fastest tablets and PCs as well.