Apple acquires TSMC’s full 3nm chip supply for 2023.

Apple acquires TSMC's full 3nm chip supply for 2023.

Apple to Receive TSMC’s First-Generation 3nm Process Chips for Upcoming Devices

Image source: MacRumors

In an exciting development, Apple is set to receive all of TSMC’s first-generation 3-nanometer process chips this year for its upcoming iPhones, Macs, and iPads. Industry sources cited by DigiTimes reveal that Apple had already secured nearly 90% of TSMC’s capacity for its next-gen devices as early as May. However, due to delays in Intel’s wafer needs, Apple is now projected to take 100% of TSMC’s capacity in 2023, solidifying its commitment to staying at the cutting edge of technology.

Apple’s Exclusive Partnership with TSMC

Apple’s partnership with TSMC is not a surprise, as the company has heavily relied on the Taiwanese pure-play foundry in the past. TSMC’s advanced chip manufacturing capabilities have enabled Apple to consistently deliver powerful and efficient devices to its consumers. By securing all of TSMC’s first-generation 3nm process chips, Apple is signaling its intention to continue pushing the boundaries of performance and power efficiency.

Intel’s Impact on TSMC’s Sales

Intel’s lack of orders has created a significant opportunity for Apple. With Intel experiencing delays in its CPU platform design plans, TSMC’s sales of 3nm chips for this year will be lower than expected. While TSMC is still projected to see growth in the fourth quarter as it begins mass production of 3nm chips for Apple’s needs, the scale has been downgraded due to the decreased orders. According to industry sources, TSMC’s 3nm process output may be reduced to 50,000-60,000 wafers monthly in the fourth quarter, as compared to the previously anticipated 80,000-100,000 units.

The Exciting Future of Apple’s Devices

Apple’s upcoming iOS devices, including the highly anticipated iPhone 15 Pro models, are expected to feature the A17 Bionic processor. This will be the company’s first iPhone chip based on TSMC’s first-generation 3nm process, also known as N3B. The technological leap to 3nm is expected to bring a 35% improvement in power efficiency and 15% faster performance compared to the previous 4nm process used for the A16 Bionic chip.

For Apple’s Macs and iPads, the M3 chip will also utilize the 3nm process. The highly anticipated M3 devices, such as an updated 13-inch MacBook Air and 24-inch iMac, are rumored to launch as early as October. Furthermore, new OLED iPad Pro models set to arrive in early 2023 are also likely to be powered by M3 chips. Looking ahead, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models expected in 2024 will feature advanced M3 Pro and M3 Max chips.

Testing and the Future of Apple Silicon

Apple is actively testing the capabilities of its M3 chips. A recently obtained App Store developer log reveals that Apple is currently testing a chip with a 12-core CPU, 18-core GPU, and 36GB of memory. This chip is likely to be the base-level M3 Pro for the upcoming 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models set to launch next year. Additionally, there are indications that Apple is testing an M3 version of the Mac mini, which could further expand its product lineup.

According to The Information, future Apple silicon chips built on the 3nm process will have up to four dies, supporting up to 40 compute cores. With the current M2 chip boasting a 10-core CPU and the M2 Pro and Max featuring 12-core CPUs, the 3nm process could significantly enhance multi-core performance. This development is expected to provide the biggest leap in performance and efficiency for Apple’s chips since 2020.

TSMC’s Ongoing Innovations

TSMC is not resting on its laurels and is already working on an enhanced 3nm process called N3E. While Apple’s devices will initially utilize the N3B generation, transitioning to the N3E generation is expected in the future. The N3E process is projected to enter commercial production in the second half of 2023, with shipments set to ramp up in 2024. With TSMC’s continued commitment to innovation, Apple and other manufacturers can look forward to even more advanced and powerful chipsets.

In conclusion, Apple’s exclusive partnership with TSMC for first-generation 3nm process chips is a testament to the company’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology and performance to its customers. By securing TSMC’s entire capacity, Apple is poised to continue leading the industry with its upcoming devices, which will benefit from the improved power efficiency and performance offered by the 3nm process. As Apple explores further advancements in its M3 chips and TSMC continues its innovations, the future of Apple’s silicon looks brighter than ever.