Since 2017, Apple have been manufacturing their iPhone processors in-house, in a bid to make the best iPhone possible. Most recently, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models have used the A16 Bionic chip, which represents the latest iteration of Apple's chip-making prowess.
Now, a big upgrade has been confirmed for future iPhone releases. Apple's chip manufacturing partner, TSMC, are opening a new plant in Arizona, and have confirmed that that will start producing 4-nanometer chips as soon as the plant opens in 2024. Previously, they had planned to start with a 5-nanometer production line, but that is no longer the case.
It's great news for Apple Silicon devices. The current generation of chips are built on a 5-nanometer architecture – that's been the case since the A14 Bionic chip from the iPhone 12 range. Fans are eager to see an upgrade, and this is concrete confirmation that one is coming.
Of course, some will be displeased with the news. Rumours had suggested that the next generation iPhone 15 would come with a powerhouse new 3nm processor. That's unlikely to be the case – in fact, given that it will release before the new facility opens, it could well stick with a 5-nanometer chip.
TSMC are rumoured to be announcing a second facility in Arizona, which will produce 3-nanometer chips. That would signal a clear path for the future of Apple Silicon, and the development of their processors.
It's not just iPhones that will benefit either. iPads, Apple Watches, AirPods – everything with an Apple logo on it uses some kind of in-house processor these days. All of these are set to get a boost too.
For me, the Apple Watch is due for a big upgrade. The current S8 chip is used in everything from the Apple Watch Series 8 to the Apple Watch Ultra, but features an outdated 7-nanometer process. Hopefully, this new manufacturing facility will allow the S-series processors to get a welcome upgrade and push Apple Watch technology even further.