Apple chip supplier TSMC is scaling back its plans to produce 3nm chips next year after Intel postponed a major order, Taiwanese research firm TrendForce reports.
Intel reportedly planned to outsource production of its Meteor Lake tGPU chipset to TSMC, with mass production scheduled for the second half of 2022, before being delayed to the first half of 2023 due to design and verification issues. Now, Intel is said to have delayed mass production to the end of 2023, virtually cancelling the 3nm chip production capacity that it had booked with TSMC for most of next year.
As a result, TSMC has apparently been “greatly affected” by the move, forcing it to slow its expansion of 3nm chip production to ensure that production capacity “is not excessively idle, leading to massive cost amortization pressure.”
Apple is believed to be the main customer of TSMC’s initial 3nm chip mass production. According to the report, Apple is now the only major company among the first wave of 3nm chip production clients with orders scheduled between the second half of 2022 and the start of 2023. Apple’s upcoming 3nm chips reportedly include new M-series chips and the “A17 Bionic.”
It is not clear if the disruption at TSMC caused by Intel will impact Apple’s 3nm chip production volume or schedule. The first 3nm chip from Apple is rumored to be the M2 Pro, debuting in the 14-inch MacBook Pro, 16-inch MacBook Pro, and a high-end Mac mini model.