What you need to know
- Apple is reportedly set to adopt TSMC's 3nm processor next year.
- Nikkei reports the new chip will debut in an iPad from the company next year.
- The 3nm process offers 10-15% boosts in performance and up to 30% reduced power usage.
A new report says that new iPads coming from Apple next year, possibly the iPad Pro, will feature TSMC's new 3nm processor technology for a huge upgrade in performance and power consumption.
From Nikkei Asia:
Apple and Intel have emerged as the first adopters of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s next-generation chip production technology ahead of its deployment as early as next year, Nikkei Asia has learned.
The report says both are testing chips with 3nm production technology, with chips expected to hit the market next year. The 3nm measurement refers to the gaps between transistors on a chip, the smaller the gap, the better the chip. Currently, the iPad Air and Apple's iPhone 12 both use 5nm technology. Adopting 3nm chips would mean a huge boost in performance and power consumption:
According to TSMC, 3-nm technology can increase computing performance by 10% to 15% compared with 5-nm, while reducing power consumption by 25% to 30%.
The report says that Apple's iPad "will likely be the first devices powered by processors made using 3-nm technology." This indicates that multiple models could debut with the new technology. Given it would make for an increase in performance, it seems reasonable to think that a higher-end model like the iPad Pro might be the first to benefit, 3nm is not only more advanced but harder to make and therefore, more expensive.
It has been hinted that the iPhone 13 may adopt a slightly improved 5nm+ chip for 2021, and Nikkei reports that the following year will see a 4nm chip debut in the iPhone "for scheduling reasons."