Apple chipmaker TSMC's already building 3nm fabrication lines, likely for iPhone 14

TSMC HQ (Image credit: TSMC)

What you need to know

  • Apple has chipmaker TSMC to thank for its A-series chips.
  • The company is reportedly already setting up a new 3nm fab process.
  • That would likely mean 3nm chips in a future iPhone – likely iPhone 14.

Apple's chipmaking partner TSMC is reportedly already hard at work getting things ready for a 3nm fabrication process, likely ready to produce chips for use in a future iPhone.

According to a new DigiTimes report, TSMC will have its 3nm lines ready for mass production in the second half of 2022 – perfect timing for the arrival of iPhone 14.

TSMC is fast advancing its manufacturing processes. The foundry maintains that its 3nm fab project remains on schedule, with the technology to be ready for risk production in 2021 followed by volume production in the second half of 2022. TSMC has already entered volume production for 5nm node, and it is reportedly developing variants for the 5nm process.

That mass production of 5nm chips makes sense – we expect this year's iPhone 12 to feature an Apple-designed A14 chip based on that technology.

While the move to a 3nm process doesn't necessarily mean increased speeds as such, it does allow for cooler chips that use less power. That can in turn enable those chips to run at higher speeds, something that is always good news for phone makers that are constantly trying to one-up each other.

Apple has historically been top of the pile with its A-series chips, so much so that it's thought to be working to bring them to its Mac lineup, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.