Former Intel Engineer Claims Buggy Skylake Chips Hastened Apple's Switch to Custom Silicon

At this week's WWDC, Apple confirmed its plan to switch from Intel to custom processors for its Macs over a two-year transition period. Apple said that the switch is all about platform consolidation and performance advantages, but at least one former Intel insider claims that quality control issues with Skylake chips was the reason Apple finally decided to to ditch Intel.

16 inch macbook pro intel 10th gen

"The quality assurance of Skylake was more than a problem," said former Intel engineer François Piednoël, speaking to PC Gamer. "It was abnormally bad. 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."

"For me this is the inflection point," said Piednoël. "This is where the Apple guys who were always contemplating to switch, they went and looked at it and said: 'Well, we've probably got to do it.' Basically the bad quality assurance of Skylake is responsible for them to actually go away from the platform."

There have been rumors suggesting Apple has an interest in Arm-based Macs for years now, but it was only on Monday that Apple confirmed the plan, satying it expects its first Mac with custom silicon to launch by the end of 2020.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that a redesigned iMac due in the fourth quarter of 2020 will be one of Apple's first two Mac models with a custom Arm-based processor, with the other being a future 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Following Apple's announcement about its switch to custom silicon, Intel said it will continue supporting the Mac through its transition, but insisted that its processors are still the best option for developers.

Top Rated Comments

BornAgainMac Avatar
11 months ago
Skylake is when Apple became self aware. That was Judgement Day.
Score: 69 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mitthrawnuruodo Avatar
11 months ago
"When your customer starts finding almost as much bugs as you found yourself, you're not leading into the right place."

Back when I was a project manager (mostly for web pages and apps, but still), there were some projects where the customer reported lots and lots of small bugs and inconsistencies within weeks of delivery. Mostly stuff that the team - myself very much included - should have picked up easily and removed before deploying. That was not my proudest moment(s).

One (of many) reasons I switched to teaching a few years back. ;)
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Falhófnir Avatar
11 months ago
I get the feeling they were also pretty furious when they'd designed a new MBP chassis for cooler 10nm quad core chips and Intel delivered hotter 14nm 6 core chips (and all the freezer memes that spawned for the 2018 MBP).


Refresh my memory... which Macs use Skylake?
2016s.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TrueBlou Avatar
11 months ago
The move to their own silicon has been inevitable, ever since an iPad started to outperform some Intel silicone.

Take that design, give it more cores, more thermal space, more speed and you have a very capable slice of silicone.

We’ve, well some of us have, been saying it for years. And yes, feel free to do a search and you will find posts by me saying exactly that, I just can’t be bothered. Too much stress, no sleep for 3 days, wife and mother in hospital. I’m just here for the easy stuff :D
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
11 months ago
While I can see that helping the cause, I think in general Intel's lack of innovation, i.e., cannot get off 14nm technology. You can only go so far with adding cores, you need real innovation
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ridgero Avatar
11 months ago
Not much has happened since Skylake. Higher clockspeed, higher temperatures.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple watch ecg

Apple Watch Likely to Gain Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, and Blood Alcohol Monitoring

Monday May 3, 2021 4:03 am PDT by
The Apple Watch may gain the ability to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, according to newly-revealed information about one of Apple's chosen business partners. Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics, The Telegraph reports. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for...
airtags teardown tile mat galaxy smarttag

iFixit Shares AirTag Teardown Revealing 'Impressively Compact' Design Compared to Tile Mate and Galaxy SmartTag

Sunday May 2, 2021 4:54 am PDT by
iFixit has shared the first of its two-part series in tearing down Apple's AirTag item tracker, revealing that Apple had to make impressive design decisions to achieve its small design, including rethinking the speaker layout. For comparison, iFixit compared Apple's AirTag to the Tile Mate and the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag. Compared to the competition, AirTag is the smallest in size, with the...
facebook instargram updated att prompt 1

Facebook and Instagram Ask Users to Enable App Tracking in Order to Keep Services 'Free of Charge'

Sunday May 2, 2021 1:22 pm PDT by
As a way to convince users to enable tracking across other apps and websites, Facebook is deploying the tactic of telling users that they must enable tracking as part of the App Tracking Transparency framework in iOS 14.5 if they want to help keep Facebook and Instagram "free of charge." App Tracking Transparency or ATT is the newest privacy feature to come to iPhone and iPad devices as part ...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1

Mini-LED Display Production Improving for Redesigned MacBook Pro Models Later This Year

Monday May 3, 2021 8:33 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMT, a key vendor involved in the production of mini-LED displays in the newly announced 12.9-inch iPad Pro, has been able to address technical challenges for the production of mini-LED displays to be used in the upcoming 14 and 16-inch redesigned MacBook Pro models. As reported by DigiTimes, TSMT had initially been facing production constraints with the circuit board and...
Foldable iPhone 2023 Feature Yellow

Kuo: Apple to Launch 8-Inch Foldable iPhone in 2023

Sunday May 2, 2021 8:43 pm PDT by
Apple is working to launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Based on our latest industry survey, we forecast that Apple will likely launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, with SDC as the exclusive display supplier and Samsung Foundry...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.5.1 With Fixes for App Tracking Transparency Bug, WebKit Security Issues

Monday May 3, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.5.1, minor security updates that come just a week after the release of the iOS 14.5 update. There is also a companion watchOS 7.4.1 update for Apple Watch and an iOS 12.5.3 update for older iPhone and iPad devices that don't support Apple's latest operating system versions. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a bug with App Tracking...
General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier in 'Coming Weeks'

Saturday May 1, 2021 3:57 am PDT by
Citing sources within the music industry, Hits Double Daily reports that Apple is preparing to launch a new HiFi Apple Music tier in the "coming weeks," which will come alongside the release of the rumored third-generation AirPods. According to the report, the new tier, which will offer high-fidelity music streaming, will cost the same $9.99 monthly subscription as the current individual...
Top Stories 58 Feature 1

Top Stories: iOS 14.5 Released, AirTag Launch, New iMac and iPad Pro Pre-Orders

Saturday May 1, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
After nearly three months of beta testing, Apple this week finally released iOS 14.5, the company's biggest update since the iOS 14 launch last September. One of the main new features included in the update is support for AirTags, Apple's item trackers that also finally became available this week some two years after their existence first leaked. Apple this week also began taking orders for...
tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
apple music album cover art

iOS 14.6 Beta 1 Code Hints at Upcoming HiFi Apple Music Support

Saturday May 1, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple is laying the groundwork for adding HiFi support to Apple Music which would offer Apple Music subscribers and owners of compatible devices, such as certain models of AirPods, access to high-fidelity audio streaming, according to code within the iOS 14.6 beta discovered by MacRumors. Earlier today, a report claimed that Apple will announce a new $9.99 per month Apple Music tier that...