Apple May Be Forced to Delay Its Custom 3nm Chips Thanks to TSMC


It was assumed that Apple would successfully showcase its first family of 3nm chips for various products next year. Unfortunately, an unforeseen setback has become a roadblock for the technology giant, and it is due to TSMC not being able to reach its goals for next year.

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Looking at the M1 chip, it is safe to assume that Apple’s 3nm would have been wicked fast and power-efficient. Unfortunately, according to a report from Seeking Alpha, TSMC is confirming a delay in the production of its 3nm chips, also known as N3. This means that the technology that was expected to be used to mass production the A16 Bionic for the 2022 iPhone 14 range has been delayed, and Apple will have to use a previous-generation node instead.

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Apple has already been reported to have secured 4nm chip orders from TSMC, with production expected to start in Q4, 2021. The iPhone maker was also said to have booked initial 3nm orders from the Taiwanese manufacturer, meaning that it would obtain a headstart against the competition. TSMC would reportedly mass produce 3m chips during the second half of next year, and these would likely be for the iPhone 14 series.

Seeing as how the iPhone is Apple’s biggest money-maker, priority would have been given to this product line over everything else. Like TSMC, Samsung, too, is facing production issues in its 3nm GAA process, so it was assumed that TSMC would have a sizable lead against the Korean giant. However, as you can read, things are never this simple. If TSMC cannot find a way to improve yields and boost production, the A16 Bionic and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 898 Plus may be fabricated on its same 4nm technology.

Even if no one expected a delay here, the fact that there is an ongoing chip shortage should speak volumes of what is to come in the future. TSMC has had to give priority to Apple for its 5nm chips since it is unable to complete orders for other clients. The chipmaker also had plans to make 2nm chips for iPhones in 2024, but with its 3nm technology facing a delay, advanced manufacturing nodes may witness a further push in the production timeline.