Apple’s chipmaking partner TSMC is reportedly hard at work getting things ready for a 3nm fabrication process, likely to produce chips for use in a future iPhone.
Research for the 3nm production process is still ongoing and TSMC, like all other chipmakers, has been working on developing processes at smaller nanometer levels. A new Digitimes report explains that 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,” reads the report. “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.”
Should these dates hold, it potentially means that one of TSMC’s biggest clients – Apple – could have its first 3nm-based SoC ready in time for inclusion in 2022 model iPhones.
In the interim, TSMC is said to be volume producing 5nm chips and is working on enhanced process variants. Apple’s next-gen iPhone, tentatively dubbed the iPhone 12, is expected to ship with a 5nm-based SoC that could be called the Apple A14 Bionic.
TSMC is also looking to move some of its chip production to the United States, in an Arizona factory that supposedly costs $12 billion USD. Currently, the factory is far from operational, with construction expected to start in 2021 and chip production expected to start in 2024.