Apple’s computers could take another step ahead of the competition in 2022 with processors made with a 3nm process. This would bring better performance to iPhone and/or Mac while using less power than its current chips.
The Mac-maker’s current processors are made with a 5nm process, which already puts them ahead of the curve.
And it’s moving even further. Apple outsources chip production to TSMC, and Digitimes reported Tuesday that, “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.”
Previous reports have raised the possibility that Apple might have access to 3nm chips in 2022, but the new Digitimes report is the first to say it’s definitely happening.
Apple: Why 3nm beats 5nm
Much of TSMC’s research and development budget goes into shrinking the distance between processor components. Packing these into less space makes room for more transistors and means faster performance and less wasted heat, saving power.
The current A14/M1 processor is made with a 5nm process. The A15 for the 2021 iPhone will allegedly use an improved version of this process. Tuesday’s report indicates the Apple A16 could move to 3nm next year. And that enhancement might also include the M2 or M3 Mac processor.
Apple’s cooperation with TSMC has allowed to offer iPhone and iPad chips with steadily improving performance for over a decade. Now that macOS also runs on Apple silicon, it will benefit as well.