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Apple's alleged chip plans say "A16" will stick to 5nm, and "M2" to move to 3nm instead

The “A16” chip for the iPhone is said to be made in the same process as the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic, with Apple providing an even bigger performance leap for the “M2” chip designed for the next generation of Macs. Meanwhile, the company is working on a “final” variant of the M1 chip that uses more powerful cores than the A15, according to a leaker known as “ShrimpApplePro”.

in Twitter threadShrimpApplePro has shared information from a “fairly reliable source” that claims to reveal Apple’s chipset plans for the upcoming A16 and M2 chips, as well as the “ultimate” variant in the M1 chip family.

The A16 is said to be based on TSMC’s 5nm process, just like the A14, A15 and M1 chips. Previous reports were not clear about whether the A16 would be manufactured using TSMC’s most advanced 4nm process, with a vague report from DigiTimes The claim is that Apple plans to use the TSMC 4nm N4P process – but the N4P is actually an improved version of the third generation of the 5nm process. On the other hand, ShrimpApplePro said that the A16 will use the TSMC N5P process. This indicates that the A16 may be a less substantial upgrade than previously thought.

According to the information, the A16’s improvements will instead come from minor improvements to the CPU, GPU, and memory. Reflecting a report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, ShrimpApplePro said the A16 will specifically feature LPDDR 5 memory. LPDDR 5 memory is up to one and a half times faster, and up to 30 percent more power efficient than LPDDR 4X memory paired with the A15 chip. On iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro.

The M2 chip will apparently be the first Apple chip to make the jump to the TSMC 3nm process, skipping 4nm entirely. The M2 is believed to be Apple’s first custom ARMv9 processor.

Apple is also said to be working on the “M1 Ultimate Series SoC”, which includes updated cores. The M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips use energy-saving “Icestorm” cores and high-performance “Firestorm” cores – just like the A14 Bionic chip. Instead, Apple’s latest M1 variant is claimed to be based on the A15 Bionic, featuring energy-saving “Blizzard” and high-performance “Avalanche” cores.

This last chip of the M1 family could be introduced in the next generation of Mac Pros, which Apple explicitly teased earlier this year. Currently, Apple’s most powerful chip is the M1 Ultra, which is actually a doubled version of the M1 Max with a 20-core CPU and 64-core GPU. With the first Apple silicon Mac Pro, Apple is believed to be working on a chip more powerful than the M1 Ultra. The M1 Ultra in Mac Studio is already faster than the 28-core Intel Xeon chip, so the Mac Pro will need to boast more extreme performance advances.

Alternatively, if it’s not meant for the Mac Pro, this new chip could be a variant of the standard M1 chip. Kuo said earlier this year that the 2022 MacBook Air will keep the M1 chip instead of the M2 feature, so it’s likely that the ShrimpApplePro rumor is about the entry-level M1 rather than the entry-level M1 variant in the Apple silicon Mac Pro, or something else entirely. Introducing hardware with iterations of the standard M1 chip could help Apple buy time before Macs launch with the M2 chip.

Other reports claim that the A16 chip will debut exclusively in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max sticking to the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic, while it is mostly rumored that the M2 chip will be offered with a redesigned design. MacBook Air later this year, before it spreads to a wave of new Macs and possibly the next generation iPad Pro.

ShrimpApplePro was unsure of the final naming of the “A16”, “M2” and the final variant of the M1 chip and said the rumors should be taken with a pinch of salt.