If you thought Apple’s existing Mac chips were impressive, wait until you see what’s coming next. According to a new report from DigiTimes (via Wccftech), they’ll be better than anything Apple offers at the moment — much, much better.
That’s great news for Mac enthusiasts. Right now, Apple’s M-series chips are made by TSMC using a 5-nanometer process. They’re widely expected to shift to a smaller 3nm process soon, and according to DigiTimes, TSMC’s testing shows its 3nm process is surpassing even its own expectations.
That 3nm process was already expected to produce better performance and efficiency, but if the DigiTimes report is accurate, it could mean Apple’s future chips make mincemeat out of anything that came before them, including Apple’s already powerful M2 Max chips.
The 5nm process in Apple’s existing chips is already highly efficient, allowing the chips to produce exceptional performance while merely sipping power. A 3nm process with improved performance and efficiency, though, is a dream scenario for Apple fans. That’s especially true for people using the company’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops, where better efficiency means longer battery life without sacrificing performance.
The M2 series of chips was initially expected to be made using a 3nm process, but in the end it seems that wasn’t quite ready for prime time. It meant the M2 was not the generational leap that many people had hoped for.
However, DigiTimes explains that TSMC began mass production of its 3nm process node in the fourth quarter of 2022, and that Apple is lined up as a prime customer. Apple’s first 3nm chips will be in its premium line and will debut in 2024, implying we’ll see the improved process in the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips (something we’ve seen reported before).
Intel, meanwhile, is apparently delaying its uptake of 3nm chips until the second half of 2025. As well as that, the 3nm process could result in increased costs that are passed on to PC manufacturers, but the report states that Apple won’t be affected much since it’s going to use the process in its premium chips, which are already pricey.
The later launch and increased cost for PC users could hand Apple a profound advantage against its rivals. That’s a lead it arguably already holds due to its M-series chips providing a combination of performance and efficiency that no other chip maker can match.
That means if you’re a Mac user, you could be in for a treat when Apple launches its first 3nm chips next year. Everyone else will be watching enviously.