While we’re all waiting for the first M2 Macs to arrive sometime in 2022, Apple is already planning the third generation of its chips, which could bring a massive performance leap over the current generation.
After some setbacks, DigiTimes (via MacRumors) reports that TSMC has begun pilot production of chips built on a 3nm process, which will likely form the foundation of the M3 and A17 chips. It was previously reported that TSMC’s 3nm roadmap was delayed due to the complexity of the process, likely meaning Apple’s next iPhone chip will be based on an enhanced 5nm processor akin to the A15.
According to the report, the first products using the chip will appear in the first quarter of 2023, with volume shipping beginning in late 2022. That puts Apple silicon on a roughly 18-month cycle, with the first M2 devices arriving in spring 2022 and the M2 Pro MacBooks coming in the first half of 2023. The 3nm process will also power next-generation chips in PCs and devices from Qualcomm, Samsung, and Intel.
The M3 chip will likely bring a significant performance boost over the M1 chips, with the high-end chips built with two dies and up to 40 CPU cores. The current M1 Pro processor has 10 CPU cores, with eight performance cores. The Information previously reported that Apple’s M3 chips are codenamed Ibiza, Lobos, and Palma.
Apple’s next chips, the M2 and A16, will be based on the N4 refinement of TSMC’s 5nm process seen in the A14, A15, and M1 chips. That new node is expected to bring modest performance improvements.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.