iPhones and Macs releasing in 2022 may make a jump from Apple’s current five-nanometer chips to new ones built with TSMC’s upcoming three-nanometer process technology.
- 2022 iPhones and Macs should use 3nm chips
- These will be fabbed by Apple supplier TSMC
- Apple began using 5nm chips in 2019
Will Apple use 3nm chips in 2022 iPhones and Macs?
Apple, with a little help from its contract manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), started using in-house designed chips built on TSMC’s advanced five-nanometer technology about two years ago, back in 2020. In fact, the iPhone 11 family files as the first commercial smartphone to make a jump to five-nanometer chips.
According to a new report from DigiTimes, TSMC is understood to be on track to move its three-nanometer process technology to volume production in the second half of 2022. Industry sources speaking with the site clarify that TSMC is going to specifically build those chips for Apple’s devices, “either iPhones or Mac computers.”
If we were to speculate, we would add that Apple is almost certainly going to use three-nanometre chips to power its rumored augmented reality and virtual reality headsets.
The smaller the process technology, the smaller the transistors. This yields more transistors on the same chip, potentially boosting performance or enabling new hardware features. Or you can keep transistor count the same and make a smaller chip, resulting in less heat dissipation, faster performance and lower power consumption.
As a rule of thumb, Apple’s chips tread the fine line between the never-ending need to boost transistor count and making the chip run faster and the worry about the impact on battery life.
You’re advised to take this report with a grain of salt.
Why take DigiTimes reporting with a grain of salt
First, DigiTimes said back in March 2021 that Apple was contracting TSMC to build upcoming chips on the company’s four-nanometer technology. It is therefore unclear whether Apple is making a direct jump from five to three nanometers or perhaps first bringing four-nanometer chips to market before moving to three-nanometer ones.
And second, DigiTimes is a Taiwanese trade publication with well-connected sources in Apple’s supply chain. That being said, however, the publication often gets its information from reliable sources, but its timeframes are somewhat less accurate so keep that in mind.