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Apple Redefine its Semiconductor Landscape with $1 Billion Investment in M3 Series Chips

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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In a recent Apple event that concluded last week, the tech giant made waves in the industry with the launch of its M3 series chips and new Mac products. What caught the attention of both enthusiasts and industry experts is the hefty price tag associated with these cutting-edge chips.

Apple unveiled three variants in the M3 series – M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max, marking a significant leap in the world of semiconductor technology. These chips, produced using TSMC’s 3nm process, are rumored to have cost Apple a staggering $1 billion, excluding expenses related to the new Mac line.

Jay Goldberg, an analyst at the renowned consulting firm Digits to Dollars, revealed that Apple’s expenditure on the M3 series chips alone has reached an astonishing $1 billion. This substantial investment underlines Apple’s commitment to staying at the forefront of the PC industry, ensuring that users benefit from the best chips available. While Jay Goldberg provided insights into the M3 series costs, he did not disclose estimates for the A17 Pro chip.

Putting Pressure on Competitors

Apple’s willingness to bear such a colossal expense has implications for its competitors, particularly Qualcomm and MediaTek. The fact that these competitors have not yet embraced the 3nm N3B process in favor of the N3E node suggests the cost and yield considerations at play. The N3E node is noted for its superior yield rates and cost structures. Reports have indicated that Apple contributed approximately $3.1 billion to TSMC’s 3nm process revenue and also incurred a cost of $20,000 per wafer.

Despite being the sole customer for TSMC’s 3nm process, Apple does not receive preferential treatment. There have been rumors that Apple must also bear the cost of defective wafers. With TSMC’s 3nm process currently boasting a yield rate of only 55%, it takes well-funded companies like Apple to risk investing $10 to secure access to this cutting-edge technology.

M3 Expenditure Raises New Mac Price

Apple’s $1 billion expenditure on the M3 series chips inevitably raises questions about how the company plans to recover this significant investment. One clear indication is the pricing of its new Mac products. The M3 version of the MacBook Pro, for example, is available only in a 14-inch option, starting at a substantial $7,540.90. Those desiring the larger 16-inch MacBook Pro have limited chip choices, with the M3 Pro and M3 Max models, which come with starting prices of $11,661 and $15,782, respectively.

Apple’s bold move into the M3 series chips, with its colossal investment of $1 billion, not only signifies the company’s determination to lead in the PC industry but also highlights the financial prowess required to stay at the forefront of semiconductor technology. This substantial expenditure is expected to reshape the competitive landscape and could influence the choices of other tech giants in the industry.

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