Apple's next major chip upgrade could come next year — TSMC's 2nm process on track for production beginning in 2025

M3 MacBook Pro review
(Image credit: Future)

Following Apple’s introduction of the 3nm manufacturing process into its Apple silicon chips for iPhone and Mac last year, a new report has revealed manufacturing partner TSMC is already honing its 2nm process ahead of production starting in 2025. 

The A17 Pro silicon found inside the iPhone 15 Pro and the M3 chips powering the new M3 MacBook Pro are made using a 3nm process, which packs more processing power and efficiency into each transistor, making them faster and more energy-savvy. As such, moving to 3nm has been a big boon to Apple’s processing power for 2023 and beyond, and we’d expect 2nm to have the same effect. 

According to a DigiTimes report seen by iMore this week, TSMC “is on schedule to implement its 2-nanometer node” and looks set to “start producing 2nm chips with GAA technology in 2025.” 

2nm on track for 2025, the next big thing in chips?

Digitimes reports that TSMC has seen “smooth progress in 2nm process implementation” and has given the go-ahead to start building new fabs in Paoshan and Kaohsiung. According to the report TSMC “has said they are seeing customer interest and participation in 2nm processes” especially for high-performance computing and smartphone applications, with customer interest “comparable to or even stronger than the demand for 3nm at its early stage.” No doubt, Apple will be at the front of the queue for both computing and smartphone chips. 

As noted by our friends at Tom’s Hardware, the 2nm node, also dubbed “N2”, looks set to offer broad performance upgrades of 10% to 15% at the same levels of power consumption as the current 3nm process, and 25% to 30% lower power consumption at the same speeds. Despite this, N2 offers fairly limited chip density increases of only 1.1x over the current lineup, so how exactly this will translate into real-world performance gains remains to be seen. 

Apple’s most recent chips, the A17 Pro and M3 range, came out towards the end of 2023. As such, we wouldn’t expect Apple to unveil a new M4 chip in the next 12 months. A18 should debut in September alongside the iPhone 16, which would bring us nicely up to 2025 and the prospect of an M4 chip that might well be built using the new N2 process. TSMC is expected to enter high-volume production in the second half of 2025, so M3 could be the top dog for a while to come. Otherwise, Apple could unveil M4 before N2 gets the nod, giving us two Apple silicon chips built on the 3nm process before we move to N2 with the M5. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9