Intel is Shipping its Kaby Lake Processors, but Macs May Not See Adoption Until 2017

BY Evan Selleck

Published 21 Jul 2016

Intel logo

Intel has made some changes to the way it develops, and releases, its processors, which has caused some less-than-stellar upgrade paths for Apple’s Mac lineups.

And it looks like that trend might continue. Yesterday, Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, said that the company has begun shipping its Kaby Lake processors (via AnandTech), which are the 7th generation chips in the long-running family. It’s a notable release because it’s the this release within the 14-nanometer process, after the releases of Broadwell and Skylake, and it’s yet another sign that Intel is sticking to its plans to abandon the “tick-tock” refresh cycle for its processors.

Up until this point Intel had been alternating between shrinking down the chip fabrication process, while in the subsequent year building new architectures. Ditching that route, however, has led to some staggered launches for the processors, which were made worse with long delays. However, it’s good news for Intel, as it means it can release more processors at faster intervals.

Unfortunately for Apple, it has meant machines like the Retina MacBook Pro and iMac have been impacted by those aforementioned delays, as well as unconventional update cycles on Intel’s side. It has meant that the update cycle for these devices has been extended quite a bit, as we’ve seen by no real updates for the MacBook Pro lineup in quite some time. It’s expected Apple will launch a new model later this year, but if the release cycle is any indication, the new MacBook Pro rumored to launch later this year might not be equipped with Intel’s latest-generation chipset. The Kaby Lake processors appropriate for the MacBook Pro might not launch until the very end of 2016 — or even in the beginning of 2017.

It’s worth noting, though, that Krzanich didn’t actually say which chips have started shipping, and while the expectation is that it’s processors that fall under the Core M series, or maybe even the U series, it’s possible that it’s higher-end chips.

It might not be likely, though, so it will be interesting to see what a new MacBook Pro will offer later this year, if Apple does indeed plan on launching one.

[via MacRumors; AnandTech]