The first concrete rumors are starting to surface on the account of the next generations of Apple chips, in particular Apple Silicon M2 and M3
It's time to look ahead for Apple, indeed to run more and more towards the future of Apple Silicon chips inaugurated in 2020 with the first generation M1. The Cupertino revolution has given a jolt to the entire technological landscape, forcing giants such as Intel and AMD to reflect on the road taken.
Qualcomm instead seems to have benefited from the "earthquake" Apple Silicon, from which it seems to have taken the strength to believe in a greater extent on the project of Snapdragon chips for PC and Chromebook, arrived in recent hours to the third generation. Apple for its part continues on the line traced a year ago, and after having unveiled the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips works hard on the development of Apple Silicon M2 and Apple Silicon M3, on which begin to arrive the first anticipations from rumors. The partner chosen by Apple would be once again TSMC, which has always produced the chips of Cupertino and now would have begun testing on the next generation coming.
How will be the next Apple chips
The indications that arrive in the form of rumors from the Asian newspaper DigiTimes are consistent with what had emerged, under rumor, previously: TSMC will not be able to develop chips with 3-nanometer production process in time for Apple to already use them on the generations of iPhone and Mac coming in 2022.
TSMC, it says, will be able to start production of the 3-nanometer chips around the end of 2022, which means they won't arrive until 2023. In other words, Apple's Silicon M2 chips and the A16 Bionic that, logic suggests, will arrive on next-generation iPhones and iPads will be made using a 4-nanometer manufacturing process, i.e., the same one that Qualcomm uses on the recently released Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, MediaTek on the Dimensity 9000 and presumably also Samsung on the Exynos 2200 in the Samsung Galaxy S22.
If the information coming from Asia were to be confirmed by the facts then, Apple in 2022 would be on the same level as the competition, and the margins to make a difference would remain but would be smaller. The current feeling is that with the M2 and the A16 Bionic the step forward compared to the current generation will be there, but it will be less pronounced than it will be in 2023 with the M3 and A17 Bionic chips that will be made at 3 nanometers.
Why is the manufacturing process important
The evolution in terms of manufacturing process in recent years has become increasingly important. In fact, the more the manufacturing process is optimized, the higher the efficiency of the chip, understood as the trade-off between pure performance and power consumption.
A more refined process ensures higher performance for the same power consumption, or - it's the other side of the coin - lower power consumption for the same performance. Apple's current A15 Bionic, M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max chips are all made using a 5-nanometer manufacturing process.