Intel is once again delaying the release of its next-generation 10nm Cannon Lake processors, with mass production on the chips now expected for 2019 instead of the end of 2018 as originally planned, via Engadget. For those who haven’t been keeping up with Intel’s internal code names, Cannon Lake is Intel’s upcoming 10nm chip architecture, and the next step from the company toward creating smaller and faster processors.
Last year, when Intel first launched its eighth-generation of Core chips, the company broke from previous policy by announcing that the product lineup would consist of a mix of multiple architectures. The line launched with a revised version of the seventh-generation 14nm+ node (Kaby Lake R), and earlier this month saw the release of chips built on the 14nm++ node (Coffee Lake), Intel also promised that we’d see eighth-generation chips from the next-generation 10nm Cannon Lake node too, which Intel was originally planning to release back in 2016.
Part of the delay comes from the increasing breakdown in Moore’s Law — as we approach smaller and smaller transistor sizes, it becomes increasingly harder for companies like Intel to keep up with the two year doubling that Moore’s Law demands. It’s also why we’re seeing things like the Kaby Lake R and Coffee Lake releases, or AMD’s updated Ryzen 2 chips, which look to improve on the existing technologies at the current node rather than try to force an early jump ahead to the smaller size.
Intel isn’t coming off the best few weeks in the news: Apple is reportedly planning on dropping Intel processors for its Mac computers as early as 2020, and last week Intel abruptly abandoned its Vaunt smart glasses project (to say nothing of the disastrous Meltdown and Spectre debacle earlier this year.) That said, Intel did beat estimates for its quarterly earnings this week, posting a record $16.07 billion in revenue largely on the strength of its PC processor and data center businesses, so don’t exactly count the famed chipmaker out yet.