Apple could be one of the only major device manufacturers in 2023 to adopt the newer and more advanced 3nm process technology, as Qualcomm and MediaTek are not clear whether the newer process is worth it.
According to a report by DigiTimesQualcomm and MediaTek, two of the largest chip makers, are still unsure if they want to follow in Apple’s footsteps and start producing 3nm chips in 2023. It is reported that the chip makers are uncertain because of the “vague sales prospects with for Android handsets.”
However, Qualcomm and MediaTek have yet to make a clear decision on whether to join the 3nm camp this year, despite both hoping to keep up with Apple’s process upgrade for its flagship mobile SoCs, the sources continued.
The sources stressed that an uncertain market outlook for non-Apple handsets and a 3nm manufacturing cost already above US$20,000 per wafer is likely to keep the two AP specialists from launching handsets from 3nm SoCs later in the year.
Both Qualcomm and MediaTek are “caught in a dilemma over whether to pursue Apple’s process upgrade in 2023,” the report noted. Qualcomm specifically supplies chips for many high-end Android flagships, including Samsung phones. The report notes that Qualcomm may have no choice but to adopt 3nm process technology if Samsung wants to “meet competition from Apple in the flagship handset market.”
Apple is widely expected to adopt TSMC’s 3nm chip process technology with the upcoming M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, powering updated 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. The A17 Bionic chip for the iPhone 15 Pro and “iPhone 15 Ultra” is also expected to be based on the 3nm process technology. Mass production of TSMC’s 3nm chips has already begun, ahead of the time we expected updated MacBook Pros models to be announced in the coming months.
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