The company that makes all Apple’s chips is nearly ready to make 5 nanometer processors, down from the 7nm ones it’s manufacturing now. TSMC’s innovation is expected to bring notable performance gains to next year’s iPhone and iPad, and the 2021 models as well.
And it’s even possible these chips will appear in future Macs.
Although Apple designs its own A-series processors for iOS devices, Taiwan-based TSMC actually makes them. Their cooperation has ensured that iPhone and iPad have offered high-end performance for many years.
For iPhone processors, nanometers matter
TSMC pours money into research shrinking the distance between processor components. Packing these into less space means better performance and less waste heat, saving power.
The Apple A12 in the 2018 iPhone XS series and the XR was the first in this series made with a 7nm process. The 2019 A13, reportedly using an improved version of this process, is in production and headed for the iPhone 11.
Not one to rest on its laurels, TSMC has already completed trial production of chips using a 5nm process, according to a report from ITHome. This change is expected to bring a 15 percent increase in performance, irrespective of other gains that come from improving the chip designs. The A14 will almost certainly use this process when it debuts in the 2020 iPhone and iPad models.
TSMC is even pushing ahead with R&D into using an improved 5nm process in 2021 chips.
A change in Mac processors?
TSMC’s 5nm process could even be used in future macOS laptops and desktops, too. Unconfirmed reports point to the end of Intel in Macs, perhaps starting as early as 2020.
TSMC’s advanced chip production capabilities are one of the reasons often cited for this possible change. Intel is still early in moving its processors from 14nm to 10nm. It’s still years away from being able to offer 7nm ones.
This article was originally posted here