There’s going to be a party in Taiwan on Thursday—and not a moment too soon for Apple’s sake. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the chipmaking wizard, is having an event to celebrate the start of mass production of chips using a cutting-edge technique called the 3-nanometer process. Using the new technique, TSMC will be able to jam more transistors onto the chips it makes for its customers, delivering faster speeds and better battery life.
Why does this matter for Apple? The company is typically first in line to enjoy the benefits of new chipmaking processes from TSMC, which builds the silicon brains inside iPhones and Macs based on Apple’s designs. And Apple’s semiconductor department, which comes up with those designs, is hitting some new hurdles, as Wayne Ma reported on Friday in a sensational story. Apple’s challenges include a growing exodus of talent to semiconductor startups and, in one case, a rare goof-up with the design of a new graphics processor for iPhone Pros that forced the company to use an older chip design.