A new report from Nikkei Asia says Apple’s upcoming M3 chip, to be used in Macs, and A17 chip for iPhone 15 Pro models will be manufactured using TSMC’s enhanced 3nm process known as N3E. The new products are expected to launch during 2023. N3E will offer improved performance and power efficiency compared to TSMC’s first-generation 3nm process known as N3.
Nanometer size refers to the distance between transistors on a chip. The lower the number, the more transistors that can be squeezed onto a chip, making them more powerful but also more challenging and costly to produce.
The report also says Apple will use TSMC’s first-generation 3nm process for some of its upcoming iPad chips. The report didn’t specify which iPad models will use the initial first-gen chips. Apple is expected to unveil a new iPad Pro next month, powered by an M2 chip, manufactured using TSMC’s second-generation 5nm process. A new entry-level iPad with an older A14 chip is also expected later this year.
The report also claims that Apple will in 2023 continue to use the latest version of Apple Silicon only in the Pro models of the iPhone lineup. Apple’s just released iPhone 14 Pro models are powered by an A16 chip manufactured using TSMC’s 4nm process, while the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models are run off of the previous-generation A15 chip.