Apple’s VP of Platform Architecture Tim Millet recently talked to German news magazine Stern about the company’s A14 chip, which debuted in the recent, fourth generation iPad Air. It is also expected to power the new iPhones.
Manufactured using a 5nm process, the mobile chip boasts an astonishing 11.8 billion transistors, up significantly from the 8.5 billion of the A13. Millet said that it will take machine learning to the next level and that, “It takes my breath away when I see what people can do with the A14 Bionic chip.”
Apple doesn’t typically talk about future plans for its devices. Millet didn’t exactly change that in a big way. However, he did briefly discuss the possibility of 3nm chips for the future — and, potentially, beyond. The report notes that:
“3-nanometer chips are expected for 2022, after which the air becomes thin. Whether small quantum computers will be in our pockets and on our wrists in ten years will become clear. Millet, however, promises a ‘really strong roadmap’: ‘We work closely with our technology partners around the world to ensure that we are on the right track. We will develop intensively and are far from finished.’”
What comes after A14 chips?
While Millet didn’t offer specifics, there is some evidence that Apple suppliers are already thinking beyond even 3-nanometer chips. Apple A-series chip manufacturer TSMC recently obtained land upon which it plans to build a 2-nanometer fabrication plant. If Apple’s past patterns are anything to go by, these could debut sometime in 2024.
Millet also noted that, in a typically Apple way, Apple focuses not just on hitting benchmarks, but creating something that is useful for developers and, as a result, customers. “Throughout the development, we work very closely with our software team to ensure that we do not just build a piece of technology that is useful for a few,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that thousands upon thousands of iOS developers could do something with it.”