Apple's new M3 Mac chips might be even more powerful than expected

WWDC M2 logo on stage on a big screen
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple is well invested in the 3nm chip manufacturing process, with reports that Apple has bought up all the 3nm process silicon for its iPhone 15 Pro models. It now looks as though the Mac-making giant wants to use the even newer and more advanced N3E process, the latest manufacturing standard from Taiwan Semiconductors.

According to a report from the China Times via Wccftech, it looks like Apple will be one of the first customers for the new process, as it was for the 3nm chips.

M3 uses the newest process

With reports of the A17 Bionic chip going into the iPhone 15 Pro later this year, using the 3nm chip process to make a more powerful and efficient mobile chip. The N3E process is now rumored to be what will power the upcoming MacBook Pro models, with the M3 chip at the center.

What this N3E process entails is anyone's best guess, as TSMC's production line is kept under the tightest of locks and keys. Either way, it's likely to be a massive step up in terms of processing power and efficiency to a slightly smaller degree than the jump from 5nm processes to 3nm.

What Macs we can expect to have the new M3 chips is another question entirely. It's likely to be the new MacBook Pro machines, likely two new 14 and 16-inch models. There are reports that there will be another new 13-inch MacBook Pro model as well, although the aging chassis might come to an end this year. 

Either way, the new chips sound like they're going to be a massive boost to performance, with space for more processing oomph at lower power draw. We'll know more when the Macs that have the upgraded chips in them are announced, which could be later this year. One machine we are reasonably certain won't have the new chip is the rumored 15-inch MacBook Air, although we can be sure to see it in the best MacBooks of the future.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.