According to a new report from Nikkei Asia, a news agency based out of Asia, Apple will be the first to adopt Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s (TSMC) N3 (3nm) fabrication process as soon as “the second half of next year.”
“Nanometer refers to the width between transistors on a chip. The smaller the number, the more advanced the chip, but also the more challenging and expensive they are to build. The most advanced chip production tech being used for consumer products today is TSMC’s 5-nm technology, which is used for all iPhone 12 processor chips.”– Nikkei Asia
So sci-movie nanometer technology? That’s what it sounds like to me because I am dumb. At least dumb enough to think that this technology sounds like some sci-fi movie-level sh*t. Turns out, it’s actually just a next-gen chip to the current chip Apple is using in the iPad Air, the 5nm chip. That chip launched in September, with the tablet equipped with a 6-core A14 Bionic chip.
The latest iPad Pro models feature the M1 chip, which first debuted in Apple Silicon Macs last year. For context, the M1 chip is based on the same 5nm architecture as the iPhone 12 series and iPad Air.
According to TSMC, 3-nm technology can increase computing performance by 10% to 15% compared with 5-nm, while reducing power consumption by 25% to 30%.
So that’s how cutting-edge this new chip is? We just skip from the current 5nm to the 3nm chip in an iPad? “What happened to 4?” – That’s what I wondered, again, because I’m dumb. No Corina, they didn’t just skip that next-gen level of tech. It just so happens that the 4nm chip is projected to be the next chip for the 2022 model iPhones, which was previously reported by TrendForce and then DigiTimes back in March.
“Apple’s iPad will likely be the first devices powered by processors made using 3-nm technology, sources said. The next generation of iPhones, which are to roll out next year, are expected to make use of the intermediate 4-nm tech for scheduling reasons.”– Nikkei Asia
Apple will adopt 3nm fabrication for all of its Apple Silicon chips, spanning iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and while it’s still unclear whether Apple will debut the next-gen 3nm chip technology in an iPad Air or iPad Pro, logistically speaking, the timing makes more sense for the iPad Pro. Apple usually updates the iPad Pro every 12 to 18 months, which could see a next-generation model appear in the second half of 2022, lining up with what was reported for commercial use of the 3nm chip.
As for this year, Apple’s A15 chip built on the 5nm fabrication size is said to already be in production for the next iPhone launch in September or October.