Apple said to be first customer to use TSMC's 2nm process

Asia Tech Wire (Jan 25) -- Apple Inc. will be the first company to get chips built on TSMC's 2nm process, DigiTimes reported on Thursday.

Sources told the Taiwanese media outlet that Apple will be among the first customers to adopt TSMC's latest chip manufacturing technology.

TSMC is likely to start producing chips with its 2nm process from the second half of 2025, the sources said. And industry speculation suggested that Apple will use these chips for its iPhone 17 Pro series, which is set to be released by the end of 2025.

More details about Apple's approach to TSMC's 2nm process will hopefully surface as 2025 gets closer.

Apple currently uses 3nm chips in its iPhones and Macs. The A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro series and the M3 lineup of chips in the Mac are built on TSMC's 3nm process, which is an upgrade from the previous 5nm process.

The jump from 5nm to 3nm process has brought the iPhone a 20% increase in GPU performance, 10% better CPU performance, and a 2x increase in AI performance.

And compared to TSMC's current 3nm process, the transition to 2nm process will allow the chipmaker to use gate-all-around field effect transistors (GAAFETs) with nanosheets, an architecture that achieves faster speeds with smaller transistor sizes and lower operating voltages.

TSMC is building two new facilities on Taiwanese soil to drive production of 2nm chips and is working to approve a third.

The chipmaker typically builds new fabs when it needs to increase capacity to handle a large number of chip orders, and it is in the midst of a major expansion of its 2nm production line.

The move to the 2nm process, means TSMC is spending billions of dollars on production line upgrades, and Apple needs to make changes in chip design to accommodate the new technology.

Apple, a major TSMC customer, is usually the first to get access to TSMC's latest chipmaking process. For example, it has packaged all of the chipmaker's 3nm capacity for iPhones, iPads and Macs in 2023.

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