Apple has managed to take a certain lead in the chip industry ever since its Apple M1 announcement. The company switched to its custom silicon ARM-based processor from Intel x64-based CPU late last year and has never looked back since. The performance and battery backup of the Apple M1 has left everyone impressed and the industry in a shock. The Cupertino-based giant is looking to maintain the lead as its chip supplier, TSMC has found a way to mass-produce 3nm chips.
According to a report from Digitimes, TSMC is planning to begin mass production of the 3nm chips for Apple in the second half of next year. The report is behind a paywall, but MacRumors was able to extract a section of the report, which reads:
TSMC is on track to move its 3nm process technology to volume production in the second half of 2022 for Apple’s devices, either iPhones or Mac computers, according to industry sources.
Interestingly, the mass-production cycle of TSMC falls in line with Apple’s product release cycle. Apple usually releases its iPhones and Macs towards the end of each year, just before the holiday season.
Despite Digitimes report, which claims we could see an Apple iPhone or a Mac with a 3nm chip, Apple’s next year iPhone, the iPhone 14, is rumored to use a 4nm chip and not a 3nm chip. 2022 iPad Pro, however, is expected to be the first device with the 3nm chip. Apple might be, again, planning to launch the chip first with an iPad and then bring it over to the iPhone, just like it did with the A14 Bionic — first introduced with iPad Air 4 and then launched it in the iPhone 12 series.
But why does it matter? How will the 3nm chip affect your iPhone experience?
The term nanometer comes up every time someone talks about a new CPU. But why is it so important, you ask? Well, as we all know, CPUs and processors, in general, are made up of ‘millions and billions’ of transistors. And before we go deep dive into this conversation, it’s important to note that temperature is a major limiting factor for CPU performance, and as the temperature increases, CPU performance decreases.
The term ‘nm’ is usually referred to as the process node and is measured by how small the manufacturer can make those transistors. The smaller the process node, the closer the transistors are. And the closer the transistors are, the more efficiently they can perform calculations. So as the process node becomes smaller and smaller, more transistors can be packed in a single dye. As the transistors are close to each other, they can perform calculations more quickly without generating heat. Since the heat is less, the chip is able to function smoothly over a long period of time and thus perform well in longer periods of time.
So if Apple goes onto incorporate a 3nm in next year’s iPhone or a Mac, you won’t notice a change in performance immediately. But, over the course of time, as your iPhone becomes older, you’ll certainly notice a change with your iPhone being able to keep up with the performance of newer iPhones.
What are your expectations from Apple’s 3nm chip-based iPhones and Macs? Have you noticed a performance jump from 7nm chip in iPhone 11 to 5nm chip in iPhone 12? Let us know in the comments section below!