The analyst firm TrendForce estimates that Apple will opt for 5nm + engraving in the A15 chip of iPhone and iPad from 2021, before moving to 4 nm engraving in the next generation. In addition to iPhone and iPad, this fine engraving should also benefit future Macs.
With its partner TSMC, Apple seems determined to want to cut down the levels of fine engraving at lightning speed. According to TrendForce, in fact, Apple would switch from A14 and A14X chips engraved in 5nm at A15 chips engraved in 5nm + from next year. While this step will not a priori make it possible to increase the density of transistors much, the purpose of the “+” processes is to make the contours of the etched components more precise, which should lead to performance and energy efficiency gains.
TSMC also confirms on its website that the 5nm + process, also called NSP, is the “performance-enhanced” version of its 5nm engraving process. But according to TrendForce, Apple and TSMC are already working on an “A16” chip engraved in 4nm for the next generation, in 2022. Apple isn’t the only founder to set an ambitious timeline to refine engraving silicon. But this pace, as strict as it is sustained, should reinforce the performance gap between iPhones and the rest of the industry, while their low consumption will allow more autonomy per mAh to be delivered.
However, what is rather interesting is that the report suggests that these fine engraving will also benefit ARM macs. TSMC indeed also manufactures the new Apple Silicon M1 chips. And it’s a safe bet that more powerful chips are coming for the more high-end models. From this point of view, we expect a lot from the presentation of the Apple Silicon refresh of the MacBook Pro 14 ″ and 16 ″ which should occur during the second quarter of 2021.
But also that of iMac and Mac Pro which should show what Apple engineers are capable of.
Source : Apple Insider