According to a new report from Taiwan today, Apple pretty much has a chokehold on TSMC's supply of 3nm chips this year. TSMC will apparently see the baseline 3nm process technology dominate 90% of its 3nm family capacity in 2023, and nearly 90% of that baseline 3nm capacity has allegedly already been booked by Apple for use in new iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads.
Both the A17 and the M3 are expected to be produced using TSMC's 3nm process. Reports about Apple placing orders for 3nm chips date back all the way to 2020, so the company is clearly playing the long game here. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are widely rumored to become the first smartphones powered by a 3nm chipset.
This 3nm tech is believed to be responsible for a 35% improved power efficiency and a 15% boost in performance for the A17 compared to the 4nm A16 present in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. On the computer side, an updated 13-inch MacBook Air and a new 24-inch iMac could be the first ones to use the M3 chip, also made on a 3nm process.
If all of this pans out, then Qualcomm, Samsung, and MediaTek might be fighting for the leftover 10% of TSMC's capacity later this year, which might mean the supply of top of the line 3nm chips for Android phones may be constrained for a while. That's just speculation however, TSMC could also increase its capacity, we'll have to wait and see what happens.
Interesting how all the tech companies are fighting over the same pie. Are mobile semiconductors really that much of a monopoly? I feel like there should be more competition in this area.
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