Apple's next major chip upgrade looks on track for iPhone 17 series next year

iPhone 16 Pro render
(Image credit: @Concept_Central)

While Apple only just started using chips manufactured with the 3nm process in the iPhone 15 Pro and M3 MacBooks, the next major chip upgrade is underway. They'll be manufactured using a 2nm process, and looks to be ready in time for the iPhone 17 series next year.

DigiTimes put out a report that claims TSMC, the firm manufacturing Apple's 2nm chipsets, is on track with production. They'll start being produced on a smaller scale towards the end of 2024, and will then enter mass manufacturing in early 2025. The report reads:

TSMC is making progress toward entering the A14 [1.4nm] and 2nm process generations as planned, according to sources at fab toolmakers. Trial production will begin in the second half of 2024, followed by small-scale production in the second quarter of 2025.

Ready for the iPhone 17 series?

Assuming DigiTimes' report is correct, initial testing of 2nm chipset devices would begin at the end of this year. And with mass production taking place in 2025, the new chipsets would be ready for devices at the end of that year. See where we're headed with this?

This reported production timeline lines up perfectly with Apple's usual iPhone production timeline, before the usual launch in September. We're expecting the A19 chipset to use the 2nm process in 2025, which would be in time for the iPhone 17 series. It's likely these more powerful chips would be reserved for the Pro iPhone models, just as they are now. These new 2nm processors would also be ready in time for Apple's typical MacBook Pro announcement in autumn – so high-end M4 MacBook chips could sport the new 2nm processor.

Apple's 2nm processors look 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, the 2nm chips offer fairly limited chip density increases of only 1.1x over the current line-up, so how exactly this will translate into real-world performance gains remains to be seen.

You'll notice the DigiTimes report mentions a 1.4nm processor as well. We know a lot less about this upcoming processor, but it will be the following major chip upgrade. It's not expect to land until 2027, and it looks like research and development is on track for this projected timeline.

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Connor Jewiss

Connor is a technology writer and editor, with a byline on multiple platforms. He has been writing for around seven years now across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech.