2022 iPad Pro expected to get TSMC 3nm chips, 'iPhone 14' will adopt 4nm

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TSMC's new 3nm chip manufacture process may end up in Apple products as soon as a 2022 iPad Pro refresh, but will not be included in the 'iPhone 14' in the same year, supply chain sources suggest.

A report on Friday morning is reiterating not just that the 3nm process is coming, but the 4nm will be adopted in Apple's 2022 iPhone line-up.

Both Apple and Intel are testing designs with TSMC's 3nm chip manufacturing process. Commercial output of the 3nm is expected to begin in the second half of 2022.

TSMC itself has said that the 3nm technology will increase computing performance by up to 15% as compared to 5nm. At the same time, the company says that power consumption will be cut by up to 30%.

The report on Friday discussing the timetable from Nikkei Asia says that Apple's iPad will see the technology first. The "iPhone 14" will use the prior-generation 4nm technology, because of what the publication calls "scheduling reasons."

Apple debuted TSMC's 5nm process in 2020 in the iPhone 12 lineup and the iPad Air. It is using the same process for the M1 chip in Apple Silicon Macs, and in the 2021 iPad Pro.

Intel is also said to be getting in on the TSMC process for use in laptop computers and data center servers. Mass production of Intel's batch isn't expected until the end of 2022, but in a higher volume than that destined for the iPad.

"Currently the chip volume planned for Intel is more than that for Apple's iPad using the 3-nanometer process," one of the Nikkei Asia sources said.

Intel has confirmed that it is working with TSMC for a 2023 product, but declined comment on which process it is using.

Nikkei Asia has a good track record for reporting on movements within Apple's supply chain. It very rarely makes predictions on Apple's future plans, but when it does, it generally gets them right.

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