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Former Intel Engineer reveals why Apple ditching the company's processors

It all started with Skylake

Former Intel Engineer reveals why Apple ditching the company's processors

Former Intel Engineer reveals why Apple ditching the company's processors

François Piednoël, Intel's former principal engineer, has recently taken to YouTube to discuss Apple's transition away from the company, revealing why Apple has decided to ditch Intel and design its own ARM-based "Apple Silicon". 

Piednoël believes that Apple's decision to move away from Intel made after the release of Skylake, a CPU release which was said to have "bad quality assurance". Apple reportedly uncovered a large number of bugs within Intel's Skylake series of processors, forcing Apple to release a large number of patches and updates for their systems.   

In the words of Piednoël, "the quality assurance of Skylake was more than a problem", even a casual Google search of 'Skylake bug' will reveal how public these issues were, even outside of the Mac ecosystem. "When your customer starts finding almost as many bugs as you found yourself, you're not leading into the right place.", François later stated. 

After Skylake, Apple's engineers started to contemplate the switch to their own silicon. Back then, Apple already lead the silicon race within the mobile market. Beyond that, the move to their own processor designs has another major benefit, consolidating their ecosystem into a single processing architecture. Skylake sowed the seeds of Apple's shift away from both Intel and x86, if Piednoël is to be believed.    
  



  
What happened after Skylake?

After Skylake, Intel was struck with a time of relative stagnation. After Skylake came Kaby Lake, an architecture which features higher clock speeds, an enhanced graphics architecture (Gen 9.5 over Gen 9) and no other major improvements. This was when Intel's delayed 10nm started to hurt the company, as Skylake's other successors have been based on Skylake derivatives to this day, including Coffee Lake, Coffee Lake-R and Comet Lake. 

Yes, while Intel has Ice Lake processors in the mobile space, Ice Lake didn't make it into Apple's Mac lineup until early 2020. That meant that Apple had to use Skylake derivatives until this year. Skylake's bugs, and a perceived lack of innovation post-Skylake are sure to be contributing factors to Apple's decision to abandon Intel.   

If Skylake's bugs got Apple to consider ditching Intel, Intel's inability to move away from Skylake-derived processor designs forced Apple to accelerate those plans. Since Skylake, Intel became an unreliable partner for Apple, limiting the potential of their thin and lite MacBook range while failing to deliver the performance gains which Apple's design teams could deliver with each iPhone/iPad generation. 


Former Intel Engineer reveals why Apple ditching the company's processors  

While the thoughts of François Piednoël may not paint an entirely accurate picture to explain Apple's move away from Intel processors, it cannot be denied that Skylake marked a turning point for Intel. 

Skylake's "bad quality assurance" was a contributing factor which lead to Apple's decision to move to its own processor designs, but it is undoubtedly merely part of a larger picture. The question now is if Apple can exceed Intel's CPU performance on their Mac systems and if Apple can make ARM into a leading desktop-grade CPU architecture. 

Apple plans to fully transition away from Intel's processors within two years, during which time new Intel-powered Mac systems will be released. Apple plans to release its first ARM-based Macs later this year. 

You can join the discussion on the Intel failings which lead to Apple's shift away from x86 on the OC3D Forums

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Most Recent Comments

25-06-2020, 11:19:58

Digikid
The REAL TRUTH is that Apple was sick and tired of people making Hackintosh systems It hurt their sales and THAT is the REAL reason why they are doing this.Quote

25-06-2020, 11:35:17

Dark NighT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digikid View Post
The REAL TRUTH is that Apple was sick and tired of people making Hackintosh systems It hurt their sales and THAT is the REAL reason why they are doing this.

Source?Quote

25-06-2020, 11:50:35

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digikid View Post
The REAL TRUTH is that Apple was sick and tired of people making Hackintosh systems It hurt their sales and THAT is the REAL reason why they are doing this.
The custom PC market isn't that big when compared to the pre-built PC market. Hackintosh systems are a niche of an already niche market. Hackintosh builds are nothing in scale when compared to true Mac sales.Quote

25-06-2020, 12:01:47

AlienALX
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digikid View Post
The REAL TRUTH is that Apple was sick and tired of people making Hackintosh systems It hurt their sales and THAT is the REAL reason why they are doing this.
Nah man it's not.Quote

25-06-2020, 12:19:36

NeverBackDown
Not like they were helping the performance of their laptops. The heatsinks aren't even touching the die on their Air lineup.Quote
Reply
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