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Apple has reportedly secured all available orders for N3, TSMC's first-generation 3-nanometer process that is likely to be used in the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro lineup as well as new MacBooks scheduled for launch in the second half of 2023.

tsmc_semiconductor_chip_inspection_678x452.jpg

According to a paywalled DigiTimes report, Apple has procured 100% of the initial N3 supply, which is said to have a high yield, despite the higher costs involved and the decline in the foundry's utilization rate in the first half of 2023. Mass production of TSMC's 3nm process began in late December, and the foundry has scaled up process capacity at a gradual pace with monthly output set to reach 45,000 wafers in March, according to the report's sources.

Apple is widely expected to adopt TSMC's 3nm technology this year for the A17 Bionic chip likely to power the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. The 3nm technology is said to deliver a 35% power efficiency improvement over 4nm, which was used to make the A16 Bionic chip for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

The latter two iPhone models were the first smartphones to feature chips built on the 4nm process, and it looks like Apple is again attempting to be first to market with models based on the latest cutting-edge semiconductor technology.

Apple plans to release a new MacBook Air in the second half of 2023, and it may be equipped with a 3nm chip, according to a January report from DigiTimes. However, display industry analyst Ross Young in December claimed that a 15-inch MacBook Air would be released in the first half of 2023. If DigiTimes' outlook turns out to be accurate, then perhaps both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs with M3 chips based on 3nm technology will launch in the second half of 2023 instead.

Looking further ahead, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros coming in 2024 will feature M3 Pro and ‌M3‌ Max chips that are built on TSMC's 3nm process. MacBook Pro models with the ‌M3‌ Pro and ‌M3‌ Max chips will go into mass production in the first half of 2024, according to Kuo.

The 3nm technology will offer improved performance and better power efficiency compared to the current chips manufactured on a 5-nanometer process, including the M2 Pro found in Apple's current high-end Mac mini and the M2 Pro and ‌M2‌ Max used in its latest 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

TSMC is poised to move to N3E – an enhanced version of N3, its first-generation 3nm technology – to commercial production in the second half of this year, and Apple will be the first customer to adopt the process, according to another report this week from DigiTimes. Nikkei Asia reported in September that Apple could adopt N3E for devices launching as soon as this year, but we've not seen any other reports corroborating this roadmap.

Article Link: Apple Orders Entire Supply of TSMC's 3nm Chips for iPhone 15 Pro and M3 Macs
 
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Confused-User

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Oct 14, 2014
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Since Apple absorbed all the costs of going to N5 and N4, *and* ate all the costs of inflation over the last couple of years (at least in the US), their track record really doesn't warrant that sort of question. However, given inflation's continued pace, sooner or later they may well decide to raise prices. I suspect that they don't want to break the psychological $1k barrier for the pro, but we'll see.
 

ph001bi

macrumors 6502a
May 26, 2015
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Apple has reportedly secured all available orders for N3, TSMC's first-generation 3-nanometer process that is likely to be used in the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro lineup as well as new MacBooks scheduled for launch in the second half of 2023.

tsmc_semiconductor_chip_inspection_678x452.jpg

According to a paywalled DigiTimes report, Apple has procured 100% of the initial N3 supply, which is said to have a high yield, despite the higher costs involved and the decline in the foundry's utilization rate in the first half of 2023. Mass production of TSMC's 3nm process began in late December, and the foundry has scaled up process capacity at a gradual pace with monthly output set to reach 45,000 wafers in March, according to the report's sources.

Apple is widely expected to adopt TSMC's 3nm technology this year for the A17 Bionic chip likely to power the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models. The 3nm technology is said to deliver a 35% power efficiency improvement over 4nm, which was used to make the A16 Bionic chip for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

The latter two iPhone models were the first smartphones to feature chips built on the 4nm process, and it looks like Apple is again attempting to be first to market with models based on the latest cutting-edge semiconductor technology.

Apple plans to release a new MacBook Air in the second half of 2023, and it may be equipped with a 3nm chip, according to a January report from DigiTimes. However, display industry analyst Ross Young in December claimed that a 15-inch MacBook Air would be released in the first half of 2023. If DigiTimes' outlook turns out to be accurate, then perhaps both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs with M3 chips based on 3nm technology will launch in the second half of 2023 instead.

Looking further ahead, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros coming in 2024 will feature M3 Pro and ‌M3‌ Max chips that are built on TSMC's 3nm process. MacBook Pro models with the ‌M3‌ Pro and ‌M3‌ Max chips will go into mass production in the first half of 2024, according to Kuo.

The 3nm technology will offer improved performance and better power efficiency compared to the current chips manufactured on a 5-nanometer process, including the M2 Pro found in Apple's current high-end Mac mini and the M2 Pro and ‌M2‌ Max used in its latest 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

TSMC is poised to move to N3E – an enhanced version of N3, its first-generation 3nm technology – to commercial production in the second half of this year, and Apple will be the first customer to adopt the process, according to another report this week from DigiTimes. Nikkei Asia reported in September that Apple could adopt N3E for devices launching as soon as this year, but we've not seen any other reports corroborating this roadmap.

Article Link: Apple Orders Entire Supply of TSMC's 3nm Chips for iPhone 15 Pro and M3 Macs
When will Macrumors stop reporting the drug induced deliriums of those folks at Digitimes? The only way to read these things is with the biggest serving of salt the World has ever seen. For instance, "Apple has procured 100% of the initial N3 supply" should read as " Apple is negotiating N3 supply with TSMC, and a decision on order size will be taken by late H1 or early H2".
 
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Confused-User

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Oct 14, 2014
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This news *still* doesn't tell us what's coming next, but it does confirm what I wrote here a few weeks ago. We know Apple is taking all of TSMC's supply of N3, and it's likely (but NOT certain) that it won't go into the next iphone, as that's more likely to be N3E, going into commercial production later this year. So if that's true, what will N3 be for? Most likely the Mac Pro, a new iMac (possibly labelled "pro", possibly not), and/or the MacBook Air. Also, possibly, new Macbook Pro 14-16", but that seems less likely until the fall. Oh, and the Apple AR/VR product, possibly.

In this scenario, we would likely see the Mac Pro in the next three months, and by WWDC at the latest.

BTW, I had a long talk with one of Apple's silicon designers just a few days ago. He's currently working on one of the cores for the M4. Unfortunately, he was smart enough not to tell me anything interesting. :-(
 
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vivek28

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Sep 8, 2013
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Is the m3 supposed to be monumental or incremental update. I just got a m2 air and thinking of m3 eh.
 
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Confused-User

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Oct 14, 2014
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When will Macrumors stop reporting the drug induced deliriums of those folks at Digitimes? The only way to read these things is with the biggest serving of salt the World has ever seen. For instance, "Apple has procured 100% of the initial N3 supply" should read as " Apple is negotiating N3 supply with TSMC, and a decision on order size will be taken by late H1 or early H2".

No. Digitimes is terrible, true, but it's been widely reported for months that only Apple is buying N3. Everyone else is waiting for N3E.
 

Mr. Dee

macrumors 603
Dec 4, 2003
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And next year there will be an optimized 3NM leading to more performance and efficiency. So, A18 and M4 will be the best bang for buck. I wouldn’t be surprised if they squeeze one more year of optimizations before jumping to 2 NM. The reality is if it’s not super expensive, it sure is gonna mind boggling expensive once they go down to 2, 1, 0.5 NM.
 

gpat

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Mar 1, 2011
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M3 is still going to be based on the N3E node, not the N3 one.
I'm sure that it has been reported before.
 

foobarbaz

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2007
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I wonder how much of those costs will be absorbed by Apple and how much by its loyal customers.
Prices have nothing to do with how much it costs, and everything with what value they and the competition can deliver.

They could have charged twice as much for the M1 Pro, and I would have payed. It's just that awesome. If they make further progress, I'll be happy to pay more.

That's very much different from the situation with say their SSD pricing where they simply don't deliver enough value for the price.
 

Confused-User

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2014
447
449
Is the m3 supposed to be monumental or incremental update. I just got a m2 air and thinking of m3 eh.

It's likely to be huge, and even more so for the higher-end chips (Pro/Max/Ultra). The m2 was a stopgap measure due to TSMC's inability to produce N3 on their original schedule. Because of this, Apple couldn't use their original designs for cores on M2 (and A16), instead doing a quick tune-up job on the previous generation cores (from M1 and A15). They had to shelve a lot of progress in their uncore as well, producing very little improvement in scaling. Because of this, the only meaningful advantage of the M2 over the M1 was due to clockspeed and increased core counts.

By contrast, for the M3, they will be able to use the original M2 design, plus all the work they've done since to further progress both in the cores (CPU/GPU/NPU/AMX/etc.) and the uncore. Add to that the possibility of even more cores due to the large scale down of features (somewhat less than you might think, though, due to almost nonexistent SRAM scaling). And finally, they might even bump the clocks more, at least for desktop parts.

In all, it's possible you'll see single-core boosts in the 20% range, but more likely it'll be higher - perhaps as high as 40%+, which is a ridiculously large bump for a single generation. Multicore is likely to see even higher improvements due to more cores, but also due to better efficiency in the uncore, where at least on the larger chips, there's a ton of room for improvement. It's plausible that Apple will again stomp all x86 processors, both mobile and desktop, and not by a little. They should at least hit parity.
 
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ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
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I wonder how much of those costs will be absorbed by Apple and how much by its loyal customers.
Seeing the margins Apple get from their products (and the markups they had internationally), Tim Cook already calculated this and spread them out over years. Apple frequently pre-booked components and supplies way in advance (the advantage of having a huge amount of cash). Nothing new here.
 

Leon Ze Professional

macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2021
599
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"then perhaps both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs with M3 chips based on 3nm technology will launch in the second half of 2023 instead."

This is the most logical scenario in my eyes. Although I would dearly love to see the 15 inch Macbook Air be released in early April.
 

Confused-User

macrumors 6502
Oct 14, 2014
447
449
And next year there will be an optimized 3NM leading to more performance and efficiency. So, A18 and M4 will be the best bang for buck.
...until the A19/M5, etc. This is a silly argument, progress always brings, um, progress...

But in fact the N3 chips (M3, possibly A17) are likely to be the best advance in performance and value ("bang for the buck") since the original M1, as I explained in a previous post. The next iteration of N3 (N3E) is mostly a cost advance, not area. It will be soon (late this year) but won't bring noticeable advantages over N3. It will likely be in the A17, in fact.
 
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