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Apple orders all of TSMC’s 3nm chip supply for iPhone 15 Pro, M3 Macs

Published Feb 22nd, 2023 9:16AM EST
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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To ensure the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro won’t be in short supply, Apple has secured the entire first batch of 3nm chips that TSMC has been mass producing since December. According to a paywalled story by DigiTimes (via MacRumors), the Cupertino firm “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.”

TSMC wants to reach 45,000 wafers produced by March, according to sources familiar with the matter. That said, not only will Apple be the first company to use the 3nm process on a smartphone, but it could also be the one to introduce a computer with the same technology, whether with the M2 Ultra or the M3 processors.

Rumors so far already expected Apple to use the 3nm technology process for the A17 Bionic. If the company follows the trend, this new chip will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models, while the regular iPhone 15 iterations will use the A16 Bionic chip.

The A17 Bionic could offer a 35% power efficiency improvement over the current A16 Bionic chip. This smaller processor will bring an important spec jump in terms of speed and, as already mentioned, power efficiency.

Another report from DigiTimes this week says TSMC is readying an enhanced version of the N3 technology, which could be available for commercial production in the year’s second half. That said, Apple will likely use the first generation of the N3 tech with the iPhone 15 Pro and keep the N3E option for the upcoming M3 Pro and M3 Max processors for 2024.

For this year, Apple is expected to announce a new 15-inch MacBook Air, the long-rumored Apple silicon Mac Pro, and, with luck, a new M3 iMac, but maybe, neither of them will have this 3nm processor.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.