Future iPads could get big boost from M-series Mac processor

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An iPad with an M-series chip could happen in 2022..
iPads could be so much faster running Apple M-series Mac processors.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple could be preparing to dramatically improve the performance of its iPads. The company reportedly will start building its tablets with the same M-series chips that go into the company’s laptops and desktops.

These will be produced by Apple’s chip maker TSMC, which is moving ahead with developing 3nm processors. Its first production units will reportedly be M-series chips for Macs. And these processors will also allegedly be used in future iPad models.

Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reported on Tuesday that, “Apple will use TSMC’s 3nm to produce its own M-series chips for Mac and iPad,” according to a machine translation.

Apple tablets currently use A-series processors, just as the iPhone does. And these will also be made with TSMC’s 3nm process. “The advanced process will also be used to produce A-series processors for the iPhone,” noted And EDN.

A smoking fast iPad with an M-series Mac processor?

As a spin-off of iOS, iPadOS is written for Apple’s A-series processor. And the iPad Pro is the fastest device using these processors. But switching to an M-series processor created for Mac could give these tablets a considerable jump in speed.

To demonstrate, the 2020 iPad Pro running an A12Z chip scores a 4650 on the Geekbench 5 multicore test. The 2020 MacBook Air with an M1 processor pulls in an 7315 on the same test.

It would be no significant challenge to port iPadOS to M-series processors. Both the A-series and M-series are Arm-based, so Mac laptops and desktops can already run iOS and iPadOS software.

Benefits of moving to 3nm

The move to 3nm processors will make all Apple computers faster and more power efficient. Both the M1 and the A14 chip in the iPhone 12 currently use a 5nm process. Shrinking the space between each component in these chip will further improve them. They’ll become more power efficient, and easier to fit into mobile devices.

Both EDN and an earlier report from Digitimes agree that TSMC will be ready to start producing 3nm chips in 2022.

It must be noted that AppleTrack indicates Economic Daily News has a 36.8% accuracy rating for Apple-related leaks and predictions.