With the Apple iPhone 13 series expected to launch this coming Friday, we need to take a look into the future at the iPhone 14 line. We’ve already seen a render of the 2022 handset with the notch being replaced by a hole-punch on the display, and a flush-mounted camera module on the back. And the 5nm A15 Bionic chipset under the hood will undoubtedly be replaced by the A16 Bionic.
TSMC’s 3nm delay means Apple iPhone 14 series will be equipped with a 4nm A16 Bionic chip
The original plan was for the A16 Bionic to be manufactured by the world’s leading foundry, TSMC, using the new 3nm process node. But when you’re dealing with billions of transistors in each chip (there are 15 billion inside the A15 Bionic compared with 11.8 billion inside the A14 Bionic) getting more to squeeze in is the problem that the top foundries like TSMC and Samsung are dealing with.
TSMC CEO C.C. Wei’s comment about the 3nm delay is about Apple and tells us when the foundry plans on gearing up for 3nm production. The executive said, “Yes, 3-nanometer technology actually is very complicated and in both processing technology and also the customers’ product design. So we work with a customer, and finally, we decided to ramp up in the second half of next year. And this is — we decided with our customer with the best fit their need.”
Apple should bounce back in 2022 with a focus on the A16 Bionic’s CPU
Ramping up in the second half of next year confirms that TSMC will run out of time and won’t be able to supply Apple with a 3nm chip for the 2022 iPhone line. The foundry has been pretty steady in the past with its roadmaps but now, as there is concern that we are near the end of Moore’s Law (the observation that the number of transistors inside a chip double every other year), this hiccup at 3nm might be raising some alarms.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple bounce back in 2022. The Geekbench numbers for the A15 Bionic showed a single-core increase of 9% and a multi-core increase of 15%. Expect
much higher gains for the A16 Bionic as Apple looks to right the ship after the large number of its chip executives jumped overboard.