There’s no doubt that Apple is hard at work on its latest next-generation silicon chip, the Apple M3 chip, but if the new report is correct, it’s going to be a lot more advanced than we thought.
It has long been speculated that Apple will go with TSMC’s 3nm process for its M3 series chips, but it looks like Apple will skip this iteration entirely and opt for TSMC’s N3E, which is a more advanced 3nm process at a Taiwanese chip foundry.
Report from China Times (opens in a new tab)By Wccftech (opens in a new tab)indicates that Apple will be the first customer to use this process node and that it will use it for both the M3 chip that is expected to power the next MacBook Air and the iPad Pro.
It may also use an advanced 3nm node for its A17 Bionic chip, which will power the future iPhone and non-professional iPad, but as with all things Apple, take everything with a grain of salt. In particular, this company is about as reticent as a member of Skull & Bones during support week.
What an advanced 3nm process could mean for MacBook Air
It was initially thought that the Apple M2 chip announced in 2022 would be manufactured on a 3nm process, but that turned out not to be the case. It’s unknown if this is due to lingering Covid and supply chain issues, but Apple opted for 5nm for both the M1 and M2 chips, and undoubtedly didn’t get the performance boost from the M2 that it was hoping for.
The M2 chip is impressive, true, but its performance improvement over the M1 chip has been a pretty standard generation after generation refresh. The jump to 3nm, however, would be much more significant, actually offering a compelling reason to move from the MacBook Air M1 to the MacBook Air M3.
Personally, I think the MacBook Air (M1) is still the best laptop for most users thanks to its phenomenal performance, great battery life, and even better price. The increase in price of the MacBook Air (M2) is hard to justify in my opinion, given the slight increase in performance over its predecessor.
This could change a lot with the move to TSMC’s N3E, which should result in significant performance improvements of 30% or more, as well as even better battery life. Given how poor sales of the M2 Mac lineup were last year, Apple really needs to give people a better reason to switch than bland redesigns and fancy marketing.