Apple Has Procured TSMC’s Entire First Run of 3nm Chips

From ExtremeTech: In August 2021, we published “Everybody Wants a Piece of TSMC’s 3nm Process Node.” Back then, it was clear there would be a lot of behind-the-scenes jockeying for a piece of TSMC’s next-generation silicon. The battle, as it was reported, was between Intel and Apple. Intel wanted it for upcoming iGPU tiles and Apple for its A-and-M series silicon. Since that time, a lot has changed for both companies. Apple became the first company in history with a $3 trillion dollar market cap in 2022. As for Intel, well, let’s just be charitable and say it’s having a bit of a rough ride lately. Given these circumstances, it’s not a huge surprise to learn Apple has snatched up all of TSMC’s first generation 3nm wafer capacity.

News of Apple’s lavish purchase comes from DigiTimes via MacRumors. TSMC announced it had begun production on its 3nm node in December of 2022. At the time, it wasn’t clear if it had secured any customers for its nascent technology. It followed up that news by stating it was going to have a “smooth ramp” throughout 2023, indicating there wasn’t a huge clamor for its newest process. Now it’s being reported that yields are better than expected. This will allow TSMC to ramp up to 45,000 wafers a month by March. For context, TSMC reportedly produces 1.3 million wafers a month, so this is like an artisan, small-batch product. Apple is expected to tap this node for its upcoming A17 Bionic SoC, which will go into the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. It’ll also be using it for its next-gen M3 SoCs as well.

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