Apple wowed by TSMC’s groundbreaking 2nm chip prototype

TSMC and Apple Team Up for Groundbreaking Chip Production

TSMC, the world’s largest foundry, has joined forces with Apple, its biggest customer, to reserve most of TSMC’s initial 3nm production for the A17 Pro chipset. This powerful new chipset is set to power the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, boasting a whopping 19 billion transistors. As the process node number decreases, the size of the transistors used in the chip also reduces, allowing for more transistors to fit inside the chip and ultimately making it more powerful and energy-efficient.

Not stopping there, TSMC has also given Apple and NVIDIA the opportunity to examine 2nm prototype chips. The report comes hot on the heels of TSMC’s announcement that it plans to start 2nm volume production in 2025, promising to introduce the most advanced semiconductor technology in the industry in both density and energy efficiency.

The move towards 2nm production will see the debut of TSMC’s new Gate-all-around (GAA) transistors, which cover the channel on all four sides, reducing current leaks and delivering substantial gains in power efficiency. Meanwhile, Samsung Foundry is also gearing up for 2nm production, declaring readiness for mass production by 2025.

However, competition in the chip production market is heating up, with Qualcomm reportedly considering a switch from TSMC to Samsung for the production of the 3nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 5 AP in 2025. Samsung’s yield for 3nm production currently stands at about 60%, with expectations that the yield will decrease when building APs for smartphones.

Additionally, Intel is working on its A18 node (1.8nm) and is offering chip design firms free test production to attract contract business away from TSMC and Samsung Foundry. This has led to speculation that companies seeking chip production using a 2nm node might start spreading their production across multiple foundries due to concerns about relying solely on TSMC.

Despite these developments, Apple has maintained its exclusive reliance on TSMC for chip production, but industry experts warn that it might be too risky to continue relying solely on TSMC given geopolitical concerns. With the competition intensifying and new technologies on the horizon, the landscape of chip production is set for a major shake-up in the coming years.