Earlier this month, Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line with faster performance, but the company was forced to stick with 14-nanometer Coffee Lake processors due to delays from Intel. During its Q2 earnings call this week, however, Intel finally offered more details on when its 10-nanometer Cannon Lake CPUs will be available…
For those keeping track, Cannon Lake was originally scheduled to be released in 2016, but Intel was forced to delay its chips. During its earnings call last quarter, former CEO Brian Krzanich explained the company was struggling to achieve suitable yield levels for the processors and would push the rollout into 2019.
As noted by CNBC, however, this quarter’s earnings call proved to be a bit more optimistic. The company’s interim CEO Bob Swan said that things are “on track” with 10-nanometer Cannon Lake yields, with all signs pointing towards a late-2019 release.
Swan noted that 10nm Cannon Lake chips will be available to manufacturers by the 2019 holiday shopping season. It’s unclear, however, if parts will be plentiful enough for manufacturers to introduce 10-nanometer devices by 2019, or if that will have to wait until 2020.
In the second-quarter results, Intel said that its 10-nanometer yields are “on track” with systems on the market in the second half of 2019. Krzanich’s previous perspective wasn’t specific on whether they would arrive in the first half of next year or in the second half.
On the conference call with analysts on Thursday, Swan was more specific and said products would be on shelves in time for the holiday season.
While Intel is still being somewhat vague here, it’s good to at least know things are improving and on-track for a 2019 release.
For Apple specifically, this means that 2019 Macs could finally be the ones to adopt the 10nm Cannon Lake processors. The most likely candidates would include the iMac and MacBook Pro. Again, however, it’s possible it might not be until 2020 until Apple is able to make the switch.
Some of Apple’s struggles with the MacBook Pro line have certainly been attributable to Intel’s regular delays of the 10-nanometer Cannon Lake line. For instance, the 14-nanometer Coffee Lake processors are limited to LPDDR 3 RAM at 16GB, which one was one of the complaints of last year’s MacBook Pro.
This year, however, Apple made the decision – likely due to Intel’s continued delays – to use more power-hungry DDR4 memory and offer 32GB of RAM in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Apple compensates by offering a larger battery in this year’s model. This is effectively a workaround way for Apple to offer the 32GB tier while stuck with Coffee Lake.