News Tech: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited is the top foundry worldwide (TSMC). This year, it and Samsung will both ship chips produced on the 3nm production node. The number of transistors in chips increases with decreasing process node size. With the debut of the iPhone 14 series anticipated for the second week of September, Apple will power the pricey Pro models with the 4nm A16 Bionic CPU while the non-Pro variants will use the existing 5nm A15 Bionic chip.
TSMC will reportedly ship its first 3nm chips to Apple later this year – Apple will be first to receive 3nm chips from TSMC, but not for the device you’re thinking of TSMC will reportedly ship its first 3nm chips to Apple later this year. According to Taiwan’s Commercial Times (via Seeking Alpha), Apple will indeed be TSMC’s first 3nm customer but you will not find 3nm SoCs in the iPhone 14 Pro models. The report from the Commercial Times suggests that Apple’s first 3nm chip will be the M2 Pro chip followed by next year’s A17 Bionic SoC for the iPhone 15 Pro models. Yes, that’s right. Apple is expected to continue to employ its newest Application Processor (AP) on its more expensive premium models only while the non-Pro units are stuck with tech that is a generation old.
The reason why this is important is that the larger the transistor count, the more powerful and energy-efficient a chip is. Samsung Foundry has already started shipping out 3nm chips this year, but only for cryptocurrency miners. TSMC will also ship 3nm chips this year and with Apple the firm’s largest customer, you would expect the tech giant to be the first to receive N3 chips from TSMC when they start shipping later this year. N3 is the designation for TSMC’s first generation of 3nm chips.
This is not the typical way that Apple moves to the newest process node. Usually, the latest chips are released in time to be included in the upcoming new iPhone series. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work this year and Apple will use TSMC’s N4 chips for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone Pro Max. Time-wise, Apple couldn’t afford to gamble on TSMC’s rollout of its N3 chips and so the A16 Bionic will be made using 4nm technology which is, in reality, a further enhanced version of the foundry’s 5nm process node.
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