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macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 2, 2017
If Apple uses the A16:

M3 will either stay on 4nm or Apple will have to redesign the A16 for 3nm. The A16 was designed for 4nm because 3nm was delayed by TSMC. 3nm is a full node upgrade which means design rules are different from 4nm. Porting A16 to 3nm would be a huge effort. It might not make sense because the A17, a ground-up 3nm design, is coming out in Fall 2023.

If Apple uses the A17:

M3 will certainly be 3nm because A17 is extremely likely to be a 3nm design. This means Apple would skip the A16 altogether. It's possible that Apple had always planned to skip the A16. TSMC shares node roadmaps with Apple years in advance and Apple might have had the team develop the M3 and A17 side by side, like how the M1 and A14 were designed side by side and launched within 2 months of each other.

If Apple uses the A17 for M3, we might not get the M3 until Fall 2023 because that's when the iPhone 15 launches. It'd be weird for Apple to launch a SoC using A17 cores before the A17 because the iPhone is Apple's most important product by far. There's also a chance that M3 will come out in Summer 2023 if Apple developed the A17 and M3 side by side and is ok with Macs getting the latest SoCs first. There's already a report by Marc Gurman stating that the M2 will be a short-lived generation which means we could see the M3 sticking to a 1-year update cadence and launch during the Summer.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2011
I’ve been wondering this too. Even though some (weirdos) think the A15/M2 were stopgap chips, the A16 really looks that way. So it makes a lot of sense for them to just skip it.

I think it would be easy to market the A17 if it comes out after the M3 (with the same cores) - just call it a mini-M3 in your pocket. Ultimately that is what the A14/A15 are to M1/M2 anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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macrumors 65816
Oct 12, 2019
I would think the most likely scenario is that 2023 will be M2 Pro/Max/Ultra/Extreme? only. M3 will come out spring 2024, based on A17 CPU/CPU/NPU cores.
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Sep 9, 2022
More likely 3nm M3 will be based on 3nm A17 Bionic that will come with iPhone 15 Pro in Sep 2023.

3nm M3 will be released as early as Nov 2023 with volume by Jan 2024. 1st Mac to have it will be the Macbook Air as it is the highest volume Mac.


macrumors 68030
Aug 17, 2009
At some point in the near-ish future, M_ and A_ will start to diverge out of necessity. A_ will use standard core type archiecture while M_ will move to Integral Distributed Execution Architecture, which will look like SMT on steroids: one massive processing structure that can handle a bunch of concurrent threads – the advantage to IDEA is that they can just fuse off capacity for lower-end, low-power models that max out at 8 or 10 threads and use the same identical processing structure with capacity enabled for 16 or 20 or 28 threads.

(this is based on nothing but my own weird notion)
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