Apple is doubling down on its relationship with TSMC as both of their upcoming SOCs are going to be built using an upgraded 3nm Process Technology designed by the Taiwanese chip maker. The A17 for iPhones and the M3 for Macs & iPads are skipping TSMCs current production line of 3nm chips and moving on to the improved N3E system.
The M3 will power the next generation of Apple Macs & iPads and is expected to debut sometime in 2024. The A17 however, will be announced alongside the iPhone 15 Pro line-up, next year. The fact that they’re both using the same manufacturing technology, also hints that they’ll probably be based on the same architecture, much like the A14 Bionic and M1.
TSMC’s N3E will supposedly bring better performance while also improving the overall power efficiency compared to the current 3nm process of the company. Apple’s latest gen A16 Bionic and the A15 Bionic from last year, are using TSMC’s 4nm process technology and the performance gains are pretty minimal.
The situation is better for the M2, but still not by a huge margin. Switching to the upgraded 3nm Process from the Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer will hopefully show bigger gains.
However, moving to a 3nm Process Technology will also increase the cost by at least 40% compared to the 5nm family which also includes the current gen 4nm chips. That means the upcoming iPhones, Macs, and iPads using the new A17 and M3 SOCs can see a significant price bump compared to their predecessors.
While this isn’t going to be a huge problem in the US, it might get problematic for other countries where Apple has already increased the prices of their current-gen devices by a significant margin.
With Intel and AMD still playing catch-up with Apple Silicon though, the company may still get away with a higher price tag, because of weak competition.
As far as performance and power efficiency go, the California giant is bringing some serious gains with their home-baked Macs, and TSMC has been one of the strongest allies in the battle.
With the production of the entire line-up of upcoming chips moving to the Taiwanese giant, this partnership only seems to be getting stronger as of now.
Source: NIKKEI Asia