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Apple has sent semiconductor company TSMC its order commitment for the N3E chip that is expected to be used for the iPhone 16 series models. According to a DigiTimes report, the Taiwan-based giant is already observing the new 3nm chip fabrication process.
To recall, the A17 Pro chip of the iPhone 15 Pro models uses TSMC’s N3B process. However, Apple will reportedly shift to the cheaper N3E process in 2024. This claim reiterates an earlier one claimed by a user on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo. Despite being more affordable, it is expected to bring better performance and power consumption to the chips.
According to the report, other clients of TSMC have already sent their purchase commitment, but Apple has the biggest demand the company has to meet.
In September, the news about the move to the cheaper manufacturing process was reported on Weibo, saying this would happen next year. MacRumors echoed this, saying Apple actually considered using the N3B process (now being used on A17 Pro) in its A16 Bionic chip but had to abandon the plan since it was still not ready. With this, the outlet speculated that there might be a chance that the A17 Pro is actually employing the N3B CPU and GPU core design actually meant for the A16 chip. It added, however, that the actual A17 design will be used by Apple alongside the N3E process in 2024, adding the “architecture will presumably be iterated on through TSMC’s successor nodes for chips like the ‘A18 ‘and ‘A19.'”