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

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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.

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