MacBook Air 2022 to launch with SoC derived from TSMC N5P node as TSMC roadmap points to true Apple M2 sometime in 2023
Ming-Chi Kuo and ShrimpApplePro have provided insights into the state of upcoming Apple Silicon chipsets, including the long-awaited Apple M2. While the Apple M2 has been expected to contain next-generation hardware compared to the Apple M1 series, a TSMC roadmap suggests otherwise. As the roadmap below shows, TSMC N4P nodes will not be ready until late 2022 or early 2023, slightly later than TSMC had previously hoped.
Either way, TSMC N4P nodes were never going to make their way into the iPhone 14 series let alone Mac hardware, as we discussed last week. Instead, Apple will continue to rely on TSMC N5P nodes, matching the A15 Bionic and the Apple M1 series. In saying that, ShrimpApplePro alleges that Apple M2 SoCs will rely on TSMC N3 nodes, due for volume manufacturing in Q3 2022. In other nodes, TSMC N3 nodes will also miss a 2022 release window. Apparently, next-generation Apple Silicon will be the company's first custom ARMv9 processor, with TSMC N3 nodes delivering up to 15% better performance, 30% reduced power consumption and 1.7x denser transistors than TSMC N5.
However, Kuo claims that Apple could take one of two options for Apple M2, depending on how it decides to market this year's MacBook Air. On the one hand, Apple may release the MacBook Air 2022 with a chipset named Apple M2, although its hardware will mirror what is already found in Apple M1. In short, Apple M2 would not feature next-generation improvements, with these reserved for MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Pro 16 refreshes. On the other hand, Kuo states that Apple could release an updated MacBook Air with Apple M1, distinguishing it from the current model with its rumoured revised design. Regardless, the 'true' Apple M2 based on TSMC N4P or N3 nodes will not debut until next year.