Tech giant Apple is all set to undergo major changes in terms of its chipset manufacturing unit. The company will slowly start replacing its current chip testing machines at the TSMC foundry so that they get ready for the 2nm production node in time for the iPhone 17 series in 2025. Some reports from Taiwanese media claim that from next year, Apple’s processor will have a 3nm method of TSMC which will stay for the iPhone 16 series as well.
TSMC has decided to keep the FinFET process for its 3nm chipsets and will only move on to the more complex GAAFET method for the 2nm node, so the company wants to be prepared with the testing equipment so there are no delays later on.
Apple uses almost 1250 machines a year and the good news is that the US wafer testing equipment agency Teradyne has agreed to provide it with its UltraFLEXplus SoC testers and load boards that will be probing the 2nm Apple A18 chipsets. TSMC also has state-of-the-art testing facilities on site and the older machines that the company replaces with 2nm water probing equipment will be sold to other independent chip testing houses.
The current iPhone 14 series has been fragmented in terms of chipsets. This is because the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus is powered by an A15 processor whereas the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max feature an A16 chipset. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the company will keep fragmenting its iPhone 15 models further by Pro and Pro Max features to get higher average selling prices.
The strategy seems to be working as the iPhone 14 Pro models are facing stronger demand than the base iPhone 14 models for the first time. Going by the trend, Apple will power only iPhone 17 Pro Max with the 2nm A18 chipset. By that time, Apple might have further differentiated its top models using the Ultra-moniker and Bloomberg claims that this trend might start with iPhone 15, which will come in an Ultra-variant. Considering this, iPhone 17 Ultra with GAAFET 2nm processor can not be ruled out completely.