Problems With Intel’s Skylake Might Have Forced Apple to Switch to ARM

Written by Novak Bozovic
Last updated June 16, 2021

Among the announcements from this year’s WWDC, we’ve seen plenty of stuff related to Apple’s software development. However, perhaps the most prominent announcement was Apple’s transition to ARM processors, which the company calls ‘Apple Silicon.’ This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, considering that rumors about Apple exploring ARM chips started circulating several years ago. However, as the transition has been officially confirmed, we’re starting to see news from various sources about the company’s bold decision to break free from Intel finally.

As reported by PCGamer, former Intel principal engineer François Piednoël blames this manufacturer’s problems with Skylake chips for “pushing” Apple into relying on its own chips. As Piednoël notes, Apple has been exploring the possibility of using ARM chips in Mac desktop and laptop computers for a long time. However, the problems with the Skylake architecture is what made Apple allocate more resources to developing Apple Silicon chips.

The principal problem, as Piednoël states, was the quality assurance of Skylake CPUs. As a customer of Intel chips, Apple needed to implement this hardware into its lineup. However, before that finally happened, the Cupertino-based company was the number one filer of problems in the Skylake architecture. Piednoël also says that Apple managed to find as many bugs as Intel before offering this technology to its customers, which is a clear indication that there was something wrong with Intel’s quality assurance.

Besides, it’s no secret that the Mac pipeline was affected by Intel on multiple occasions. This could also be why it took so long for Skylake processors to appear in the 2015 iMac, followed by MacBook and MacBook Pro models in 2016. During the last several years, we’ve seen numerous complaints about Apple not updating their computer lineup as frequently as they did in the past, but we can only speculate about its cause.

Even though we’re sure that Apple didn’t abandon Intel only because of Skylake’s problems, this could have been a tipping point. Now that Apple believes that its ARM chips are powerful enough for desktop and laptop computers, the company is finally ready to take a whole new direction. As already noted, this transition will be done over the next two years, which means that Apple could still have plenty of work on perfecting its Silicon chips.

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