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.

"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

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13 weeks ago
Skylake is when Apple became self aware. That was Judgement Day.
Score: 69 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 weeks 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)
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13 weeks 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)
Avatar
13 weeks 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)
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13 weeks 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)
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13 weeks ago
Not much has happened since Skylake. Higher clockspeed, higher temperatures.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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