Apple released a new MacBook Air at the WWDC 2022 developer conference, equipped with a new generation of M2 chips, which opened the prelude to the M2 series of self-developed chips. The development and mass production plan of Apple’s M2 series chips is progressing in an orderly manner, and the research and development of M3 chips are also on the agenda.
According to ctee
, Apple will start mass production and research and development of the M2X architecture code-named Rhodes in September this year, including chips such as M2 Pro and M2 Max, which will be used in products such as the next-generation MacBook Pro and Mac Studio. With the mass production of TSMC’s N3 process, Apple will accelerate its transition to the 3nm process, widening the gap with its competitors.
Apple has started the design work of the M3 chip, whose R&D code is Palma
, and will use TSMC’s N3E process. The mass production time is about a year later than that of the M2X architecture chip, and it is mainly used in the new generation of MacBook Air, iPad Air/Pro, and other product lines launched in the second half of 2023 and the first half of 2024. As a simplified version of TSMC’s 3nm process, N3E reduces the number of EUV mask layers based on the original N3, from 25 layers to 21 layers. Although the logic density is 8% lower, it is still 60% higher than the N5 process node.
The outlook for next year’s orders is uncertain as rising economic instability such as global inflation weighs on sales of consumer electronics such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The industry generally expects that until the first half of next year, manufacturers are working hard to destock. Apple, on the other hand, continues to strengthen its product line to increase its market share, which may allow TSMC to further expand its advantages in foundry and advanced packaging.