Apple’s M1 powered MacBook did very well commercially. The Cupertino giant is certainly working on the next generation MacBook lineup, likely to be powered by Apple’s upcoming M2 processors.
New 14" and 16" MacBook Pro with new processors will enter mass production in 4Q22. Given TSMC's guidance that the 3nm will contribute revenue starting in 1H23, processors of 14" and 16" MacBook Pro models may still adopt the 5nm advanced node.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) August 22, 2022
The M2 processors were rumored to be on TSMC’s 3nm node. But recently, well known Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, stated in a tweet that TSMC’s 3nm node might not be ready by the end of this year, when the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are expected to go into mass production.
Mark Gurman, in his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, claimed that the upcoming MacBook Pro models will be powered by the M2 Pro and M2 Max SoCs. These were expected to be on TSMC’s 3nm node, but now Ming claims that instead Apple might opt for TSMC’s more advanced 5nm node.
Moreover, the MacBooks aren’t the only product affected, even the upcoming iPhones were initially planned on TSMC’s 3nm node, but now are rumored to be powered by chips from the upgraded TSMC 5nm fab, N4P.
As we reported in a article before, The initial N3 fabrication process is predicted to offer a 10% to 15% performance improvement, a 25% to 30% reduction in power consumption, and an increase in logic density of roughly 1.6 times when compared to the original N5 manufacturing technology.
That doesn’t mean the next generation chips won’t have any silicon level advancements. TSMC’s N4P process, which is an improvement over the 5nm platform, is expected to deliver an 11% performance gain over the original N5 node and a 6% gain over N4. N4P is also expected to deliver a 22% gain in power efficiency as well as a 6% gain in transistor density, over N5.
N4P designs will be well-supported by TSMC’s comprehensive design ecosystem for silicon IP and EDA. With TSMC and its Open Innovation Platform® partners helping to accelerate the product development cycle, the first products based on N4P technology are expected to tape out by the second half of 2022.
– TSMC Newsroom
According to TSMC, initial N4P products will likely roll out later this year, which fits perfectly with the rumored iPhone 14 and MacBook Pro roll-out timelines. As for 3nm node chips, they will likely start showing up sometime in 2023.