Apple's A17, M3 processors will be first to use new TSMC 3nm technology

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
A new report says Apple will be the first company in the world to employ TSMC's updated 3-nanometer process, and aims to use it in the iPhone 15 Pro and M3 Macs.




Previous claims that Apple would use 3nm processors in the 2022 MacBook Pro updates have already been quashed by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Now a report citing industry sources backs up the claim that the new processor technology will be available for mass production in the second half of 2023.

According to Nikkei Asia, TSMC is currently developing an updated process that it calls N3E chipmaking technology. Three unspecified sources said that this will be used for the A17 chip in the iPhone 15 Pro in late 2023.

Two of these sources also reported that what the publication describes as the "next generation of Apple's M3 chip," will use this upgrade 3-nm process.

Reportedly, TSMC staff revealed at a Hsinchu technology symposium, that the N3E process will offer both better performance and energy efficiency than its first 3-nm option.

That initial 3-nm process may yet be used across smartphones and computers, as Nikkei Asia reports that both TSMC and Samsung are hoping to enter mass production this year.

The publication also reports that Intel previously intended to book 3-nm production at TSMC by late 2022 or early 2023. However, it has since pushed orders back to at least 2024.

Separately, it's expected that Apple's iPhone 15 range will continue the company's new policy of using the newest processors only in the Pro models.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    This feels like big news? By process of elimination?

    Because Apple is using the second-generation 3nm process, not the first. Interesting also that TSMC may be changing their naming convention for the second-generation from "N3P" to "N3E" -- it's not hard to imagine Apple calling this "3 Nanometer Enhanced" (or some other E word) technology.

    Regardless, it's big news because it makes a new Mac Pro more likely to use the M2 Ultra+ built with the A16 cores on N4P (unconfirmed, but rumored; could also be N4). What that means for the timetable for its release, I don't know. I mean, it's hard to imagine not refreshing the Mac Studio at the same time, but it's only been eight months since that launch. But maybe, with a generous trade-in program for Mac Studio early adopters.
    edited September 14 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    dk49dk49 Posts: 228member
    The device that needs it the most is the Apple watch. It will give the much required boost to its battery life. S8 is a big let down.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    I mean, it's hard to imagine not refreshing the Mac Studio at the same time, but it's only been eight months since that launch.
    It's only been 6 months.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    I mean, it's hard to imagine not refreshing the Mac Studio at the same time, but it's only been eight months since that launch.
    It's only been 6 months.
    The Mac Studio needs kindly discontinuing. It is an ugly monstrosity. 
  • Reply 5 of 8
    I mean, it's hard to imagine not refreshing the Mac Studio at the same time, but it's only been eight months since that launch.
    It's only been 6 months.
    Yes, sorry, that was unclear — it should have been: “it will have been eight months since that launch” — I was thinking the earliest they will actually ship the M2 Pro/Max+ is November, thus eight months.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    timmillea said:
    I mean, it's hard to imagine not refreshing the Mac Studio at the same time, but it's only been eight months since that launch.
    It's only been 6 months.
    The Mac Studio needs kindly discontinuing. It is an ugly monstrosity. 

    edited September 15 tenthousandthingsravnorodomtmayfastasleep
  • Reply 7 of 8
    thttht Posts: 4,630member
    This feels like big news? By process of elimination?

    Because Apple is using the second-generation 3nm process, not the first. Interesting also that TSMC may be changing their naming convention for the second-generation from "N3P" to "N3E" -- it's not hard to imagine Apple calling this "3 Nanometer Enhanced" (or some other E word) technology.

    Regardless, it's big news because it makes a new Mac Pro more likely to use the M2 Ultra+ built with the A16 cores on N4P (unconfirmed, but rumored; could also be N4). What that means for the timetable for its release, I don't know. I mean, it's hard to imagine not refreshing the Mac Studio at the same time, but it's only been eight months since that launch. But maybe, with a generous trade-in program for Mac Studio early adopters.
    They could do yearly refreshes if they wanted to. There are delays and whatnot, like this or that TSMC fab or other component being not ready, but with Apple Silicon, they could do yearly refreshes. For the M1 round, they essentially designed "one" chip for Macs, and that design is used all across the lineup, but their rollout has been curious with its holes. I do not consider the M1 a "Mac" chip. It's basically an iPad Pro chip, something they've been doing for a long while.

    I don't think it really matters what CPU core design they use. Just using the most up to date one for the given time frame is fine. If it is the A15 core, it's find. If it is the A16 core, great. Like I said in the other thread, they need to fix the poor GPU core scaling in Apple Silicon. That really should be priority number 1 and will offer the biggest bang for the buck for 16, 32, 64 GPU core configurations. Higher performance GPU cores will be a nice bonus.

    The other big thing is they are still quite limited in Mac models and configs, the holes. They should have put the M1 Pro in the Mac mini or Mac Studio last March. The iMac 24 should have the M1 Pro as an option. They should have shipped a Mac Pro with 6 to 8 slots. An $800 Mac laptop, like a MBA with an A15 perhaps, should be in the lineup. There are rumors of a MBA 15". That needs to come sooner than later.

    Once they have the "M2 Max" chip shipping, it basically means M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 Ultra, and theoretically an M2 Extreme can be proliferated across the entire Mac lineup, all within a year. It's really just "one" chip. Rinse, repeat with the M3 generation.
    muthuk_vanalingamtenthousandthings
  • Reply 8 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    timmillea said:
    I mean, it's hard to imagine not refreshing the Mac Studio at the same time, but it's only been eight months since that launch.
    It's only been 6 months.
    The Mac Studio needs kindly discontinuing. It is an ugly monstrosity. 
    I think mine is beautiful.  Elegant and understand with an air of refinement.
    tmay
Sign In or Register to comment.