According to a paywalled DigiTimes report, Apple has secured 100% of all available orders for N3, TSMC‘s first-generation 3-nanometer process that is likely to be used in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15 lineup, as well as new MacBooks expected to launch in the second half of 2023.
The initial N3 supply is said to have a high yield, despite the higher costs involved and the decline in the foundry’s utilization rate in the first half of 2023. Mass production of the process began in late December, with monthly output expected to reach 45,000 wafers in March, said the report’s sources.
Apple is expected to adopt TSMC’s 3nm technology this year to fabricate the A17 Bionic chip expected to power the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. TSMC’s 3nm technology is said to deliver a 35% power efficiency improvement over the 4nm process used in the A16 Bionic chip, used in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Apple is also expected to use TSMC’s 3nm chips for its MacBook Air in the second half of 2023. There have also been reports that a 15-inch MacBook Air would be released in the first half of 2023, so we could see both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs with M3 chips built on the 3nm process launch in the second half of 2023.
We’ve also heard from Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who believes we’ll see 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in 2024, powered by M3 Pro and M3 Max chips built on TSMC’s 3nm process.
TSMC is reportedly readying for a move to N3E – an enhanced version of N3, its first-generation 3nm technology – bringing the N3E to commercial production in the second half of this year. Apple will likely be the first customer to use the process.