Apple’s move to ditch Intel CPUs and switch to its Apple Silicon inside Macs is a big one. The move comes after Intel has been struggling to deliver meaningful performance and power efficiency improvements with its CPUs over the last few years. A former Intel engineer, however, has revealed that Apple was not happy with Intel chips since the Skylake-based CPUs were first introduced back in 2015.
As per engineer François Piednoël, the quality assurance of the Skylake architecture was a big problem which eventually cemented Apple’s decision to go with its own silicon in future Macs.
“The quality assurance of Skylake was more than a problem,” says Piednoël during a casual Xplane chat and stream session. “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.”
Intel debuted its 14nm Skylake-based CPUs in 2015 which Apple started using inside its iMac line-up from the same year. The following year, Apple switched to Skylake CPUs inside its MacBook lineup as well.
Ironically, since the release of Skylake, Intel has been still stuck on the 14nm fabrication process and has only been tweaking its Skylake microarchitecture and boosting clock speeds to extract every bit of performance from it. The company has been struggling with its 10nm fabrication process that has led to numerous delays in releasing CPUs based on the 10nm fab.
This has likely had a cascading effect on Apple’s roadmap as well as Intel has been adding more cores and boosting the clock speed of its CPUs since 2015 to boost performance which comes with a power and thermal penalty. As if the Skylake issues were not enough, future CPUs released by Intel since then further cemented its decision to go with its own CPUs inside Macs.