Apple Supplier TSMC Starts Mass Production on 3nm Chips

Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) today started mass production of next-generation 3-nanometer chips that will be used in future Apple devices like iPhones, reports Bloomberg.

3nm apple silicon feature
TSMC is producing the chips at its southern Taiwan campus, and TSMC chairman Mark Liu said that demand for the technology is "very strong."

The 3-nanometer chips will offer improved performance over the current 5-nanometer chips but with 35 percent less power use. Apple could start adopting 3nm processors in 2023, as rumors suggest the A17 in the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro will use ‌3nm‌ technology.

In the future, TSMC will manufacture ‌3nm‌ chips at a U.S. plant that's being built, with production to start in 2026. TSMC's first U.S. plant in Arizona will start with manufacturing 4-nanometer chips when it opens in 2024. TSMC is also developing 2nm chip technology, with those cutting-edge chips set to be produced in Taiwan.

Top Rated Comments

TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
23 weeks ago
As expected! What a wonderful news to end this year. Ready for what 3nm chips will bring to Apple in 2023. ? ??⚡️
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TigerNike23 Avatar
23 weeks ago
I just want a Mac mini that I can plug three displays into, like in 2018. Do that and I’m happy.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
23 weeks ago

Excited to see all the devices these new 3nm chips will go into!

iPhone 15 Pro this fall is a sure bet. I wonder with production ramping up today if we'll see them in the new MacBook Pros this spring. If they get released in January/February I say zero chance, but March onward maybe?
I think in March 2023 we are due to see MacBook Pro 14” & 16” so there’s a high chance we might see them with the 3nm chips.

MacBook Air was released in July 2022. Apple will complete its full 12 months of transition before releasing a new MacBook Air. Therefore, MBA in the late fall of 2023.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
name99 Avatar
23 weeks ago
This article is extremely confused (probably because the original TSMC Press Release is a major fsckup clearly written by someone without a clue).

(a) There are two TSMC N3 processes, the first one (originally just called N3, now called N3B) and a modified one called N3E.

(b) Apple's first N3 products will be on N3B.

(c) N3B gives, among other improvements, a density boost of 1.7x and a power reduction of ~25%
N3E gives, among other improvements, a density boost of 1.6x but a power reduction of ~34%

(d) It APPEARS to be the case that N3B began volume production in late September:
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/tsmc-confirms-plans-to-start-3nm-production-shortly

(e) It APPEARS that this ceremony refers to N3E, but it's honestly impossible to tell whether N3B was delayed three months, or N3E is being rushed into production ASAP. My GUESS is that it's the latter, N3B was on schedule in September, but N3B is yesterday's news, an experiment that pushed things too far and that is being abandoned by TSMC as soon as contractual obligations to Apple (and anyone else?) are done.Since N3E will be the only option going forward, that's the one they want to get all the media oxygen.

(If this theory is correct, it's something of a change for TSMC. In the past supposedly "unsuccessful" experiments, like 10nm, were not just useful learning exercise, but stuck around for a while for others customers to use if they wanted. N3B looks like TSMC have no interest in keeping it around longer than necessary.
My guess [once again a guess] is that the TSMC engine broke down because of covid. Problems with N3B that, in the past, could have been figured out via engineers shutting between Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Japan, had to be handled more slowly and inefficiently via Zoom calls and eventually TSMC made the call to just abandon the most aggressive aspect of the design [the EUV double-patterning] and switch to a less dense, and less aggressive, set of design parameters.

Probably if Apple were not already somewhat committed to N3B [having already "delayed" an iPhone chip, in that the A16 is a disappointing A15 moved to N4 because N3B was not ready yet, and having already delayed the next set of high end Macs] TSMC would have dropped N3B without anyone even really knowing, and just shifted to N3E as "N3".)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0924487 Avatar
23 weeks ago

It’s always interesting to me what Apple chooses to do with the power savings of a new chip. Do they keep the battery the same and offer better battery life, or do they downsize the battery and keep battery life the same.

The 14 Pro Max has insanely good battery life for me. I’d be happy with a bit lighter iPhone next year.
I think 14 Pro Max battery is just so so. Especially if you use it during the day.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMShadow Avatar
23 weeks ago

That was the first thing I noticed on my 14 PM.

I get around 2+ days on a charge. Much better than my 12 Pro (even when new).

Overall it's an outstanding phone. I especially like the camera.
The 5G radio in the 12 series didn't help, and there was a battery reduction over the 11s. The 13s got bigger batteries across the board, which combined with the second gen 5G radio to really boost battery life.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)