No 3 nm for the A16 Bionic: Qualcomm and MediaTek tipped to beat Apple in the race to 3 nm chipsets
The race to 3nm continues. While we already know that smartphones for the rest of this year will use the current 5nm process, TSMC is gearing up for the upgrade to a 3 nm node, but estimated timelines heavily suggest that Qualcomm and MediaTek will beat usual forerunners Apple this time out.
According to a new report, TSMC will only begin production with its 3 nm pipeline in the second half of 2022—months later than it usually does. For instance, TSMC's 10 nm, 7 nm, and 5 nm nodes all entered service around April. What this means, however, is that Apple will not be able to use a 3 nm architecture for its 2022 chipset. With the A15 set to continue production on an improved 5 nm node, it appears likely that the A16 will stick to a 5 nm process or, as has been rumored, a 4 nm one. The A17 is expected to be Apple's first 3 nm chipset, and will be available in 2023.
On the other hand, Qualcomm and MediaTek will benefit from TSMC's supposed change in schedule, with Qualcomm expected to release a 3 nm chipset in late 2022 as a successor to the Snapdragon 895 that will debut later this year.