Skylake architecture could have prompted Apple to ditch Intel

‘Abnormally bad’ Skylake architecture could have prompted Apple to ditch Intel, engineer claims


Apple silicon will power future Mac desktops and laptops
Apple announced ARM-based Apple Silicon at WWDC.
Screenshot: Apple

The “abnormally bad” quality of Intel’s Skylake architecture may have been what pushed Apple to make the jump to its own ARM-based Apple Silicon processors, claims a former Intel principal engineer in a report published by PC Gamer.

According to engineer François Piednoël, “We were getting way too much citing for little things inside Skylake. Basically our buddies at Apple became the number one filer of problems in the architecture. And that went really, really bad. When your customer starts finding almost as much bugs as you found yourself, you’re not leading into the right place.”

Piednoël said that this is the point at which Apple decided to get serious about ditching Intel. “Basically the bad quality assurance of Skylake is responsible for them to actually go away from the platform,” he said.

Apple ditches Intel for Apple Silicon

One source in the form of an ex-employee isn’t enough to confirm this as definite, of course. With that said, Piednoël is a big name in the industry. He worked at Intel as a principal engineer and other roles for 20 years from 1997 to 2017 and, according to LinkedIn, worked on the Skylake project.

Skylake is the internal name used by Intel for its processor microarchitecture launched in August 2015. It succeeded the Broadwell microarchitecture. Apple’s first Skylake Macs were the iMac refresh shipped in October 2015. After this, Apple debuted Skylake MacBooks in April 2016, MacBook Pros in October and November  2016, and the iMac Pro in December 2017.

At this year’s WWDC, Apple announced that it will switch from Intel to its own Apple Silicon architecture. Craig Federighi said that, “We expect to ship our first Mac with Apple Silicon by the end of this year, and we expect the transition to take about two years.”

Are you excited about the switch from Intel to Apple Silicon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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