Rumor: Intel Has Pushed 10nm Cannon Lake Back to 2018

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Intel has already delayed Cannon Lake several times, as it tweaks the process and pulls the rollout back on track, but the company’s efforts may not have been enough. There are multiple reports Intel has pushed Cannon Lake back into 2018, though evidence is scant on the ground.

The basis for the rumor appears to be an image that sites like PatentlyApple are claiming prove a delay. Here’s the relevant image; PatentlyApple describes this as: “Intel’s Beijing presentation held yesterday added a slide as noted above that clearly places their 10nm in the late 2018 and 2019 timeline.”

10nm-Intel-Innovation-Leadership

The problem with this argument is the slide in question was actually shown six months ago, at Intel’s previous tech day. It’s not proof a 10nm delay; it’s proof that PatentlyApple didn’t check its own sources. And yes — we’ve compared the image hosted on PatentlyApple with the image Intel released six months ago. They’re identical. Nothing has been stealthily added or removed.

The other primary source for this rumor is DigiTimes, which states Intel has pushed Cannon Lake back to the end of 2018, and that this has so angered OEMs, some of them may skip it altogether, in preference for Ice Lake. This, again, is incredibly unlikely. OEMs might choose not to launch a huge range of SKUs if they know new hardware will arrive in the near future, but no company is going to refuse to support Intel CPUs if its competitors are doing so.

It boils down to marketing numbers, as lame as that can be — if everyone else’s CPU has an 8 in front of it, do you want to be the only company with chips stuck on 7? No. No, you don’t. Companies don’t typically skip Intel cycles, even if they don’t go all-in with them, because the impact of a skip means you’re giving your competitors free reign to sell hardware you can’t match. Proper design lead time means that moving a system from one SKU to another, while not instantaneous, doesn’t take terribly long, either. Intel would have to suffer some kind of serious availability cataclysm to see companies just ignore a new CPU. And DigiTimes track record on rumors is spotty enough to give one pause.

None of this is to say that Intel couldn’t have delayed Cannon Lake. It’s already been pushed back multiple times, it could’ve been pushed back again. But so far, all we have for evidence is a weak DigiTimes report with no proof behind it, and a Patently Apple image that’s been blatantly mis-purposed to imply it says something other than what it says.

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