Forward-looking: Apple has reportedly found itself at the front of the line once again for TSMC’s latest manufacturing process. Sources familiar with the matter told DigiTimes that Apple is widely believed to be the first client set to utilize TSMC’s 2-nanometer manufacturing process.
This is not the first time Apple has been in such an advantageous position as a TSMC client. In February 2023, it was reportedly that Cupertino had secured TSMC’s entire initial supply of 3nm chips. Later in the year, Apple launched the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max powered by the A17 Pro, the first SoC built on a 3nm process. The A16 Bionic in the previous generation flagship iPhones was fabbed on an advanced 5nm process, also from TSMC.
Apple’s M3 chips, meanwhile, are its first desktop / notebook processors built on the 3nm process, again courtesy of TSMC.
Chips built on TSMC’s 2nm process could still be a ways off. According to MacRumors, TSMC is in the process of building two new facilities designed to produce 2nm chips and is seeking approval for a third.
The company’s 2nm process will reportedly utilize GAAFET (gate all around field-effect transistors) with nanosheets that are more complex to create than FinFET. The new transistors are said to allow for faster speeds and lower operating voltages.
TSMC is not expected to start manufacturing 2nm chips until the second half of 2025. It is possible, then, that the first consumer devices to ship on the process could be the iPhone 17 Pro.
Related reading: The chip foundry industry is in great shape, and TSMC keeps leading the way
Leading tech firms are constantly looking to the future, and TSMC is no different. A recent report out of Taiwan claims TSMC is already working on plans for a 1nm fabrication facility at the science park in Chiayi, Taiwan. It should come as little surprise that Apple is reportedly interested in securing the first orders for this cutting-edge tech as well.