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Apple among the first in industry to reap the benefits of TSMC’s 3nm process: Report

By Nadeem Sarwar December 22, 2020, 10:40 am
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Apple went all-in on the 5nm process-based silicon for both Macs and iPhones by equipping them with the M1 and A14 Bionic chip this year. Notably, both the chips own also hold the title of being the first commercially available 5nm processors. As per a new report from Taiwan-based United Daily News, Apple might also be the first in the industry to offer computer and smartphone chips based on TSMC’s 3nm process.

The company was reportedly the first to get in touch with TSMC regarding its 3nm fabrication process. The report claims that Apple wants to rely on the upgraded process to make the next-gen M-series chips for upcoming Macs and A-series chips that will go inside the iPads, and later in the iPhones. It appears that the 3nm-based A-series chip will appear first inside an iPad before making its way to an iPhone, just like the A14 Bionic processor first was first equipped inside the 2020 iPad Air before being packed inside with the iPhone 12 family.


It is being forecast that at least 300 million chips based on the 3nm process must be produced to recoup the cost associated with R&D and production, but with Apple moving entirely to in-house chips and banking heavily on the 3nm process, the target is not outlandish for TSMC. “Apple will use TSMC’s 3nm to produce its own M-series chips for Mac and iPad. The advanced process will also be used to produce A-series processors for the iPhone,” (via Google Translate) adds the report.

4nm process could be announced in 2021

As per the report, TSMC plans to clear the certification process and aims to start the trial production of its 3nm-based chips in 2021. As for mass production, it is likely to commence in 2022. As per industry insights, TSMC is smoothly sailing towards its goal of producing 600,000 3nm-based chips annually. However, between its existing 5nm fabrication process and 3nm technology, TSMC is also expected to unveil its 4nm process soon.

Back in May this year, TSMC announced plans to build a new factory in the US. Later in August, it was reported that TSMC will soon start working on a new 2nm factory and R&D center.


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