Apple’s next-gen M3 and A17 Bionic chips are reported to be produced using TSMC’s 3nm N3E process.
According to a report from China Times via Wccftech, Apple is reportedly working on developing their next-gen chips, the A17 Bionic and M3, via TSMC’s advanced 3nm N3E fabrication process. For context, Apple’s current latest chips, the A16 Bionic that powers iPhone 14 and Apple’s M2 found in iPad Pro and Mac computers, were fabricated using TSMC’s 5nm process. 3nm chips are still, as of now, yet to hit the mass market in a major way.
However, not only is Apple reported to be using this more advanced, cutting-edge fabrication process for its upcoming chips, but rumors also suggest that new MacBook Airs (both a 13-inch and a 15-inch model) are reported to ship with that 3nm M3 chip, while it’s also reported that iPhone 15 will ship with a 3nm chip.
Another important factor here comes down to the production process. TSCM’s latest tech allows for producing 3nm chips, but the N3E process isn’t the first generation of 3nm chip production. If the rumors and reports are to be believed, Apple’s M3 and A17 Bionic chips will be relying on TSMC’s second-generation 3nm process, the first being the N3 process. There have been rumors circulating that these upcoming chips will be 3nm but will be produced via the N3 process; however, these most recent reports contradict these earlier rumors.
The creation of a microchip is an enormously complicated endeavor, but suffice it to say that 3nm production likely means denser, faster chips that allow for performance gains over the last generation. Of course, though, this is all rumor at this point, so we’ll have to wait and see both if Apple’s next-gen chips use a 3nm process as well as what the performance uplift actually shakes out to be.