Intel Kaby Lake CPUs suitable for MacBook Pro refresh said to be in manufacturers' hands

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Supply chain reports sourced from laptop manufacturers claim that they are in receipt of laptop-class Kaby Lake processors earlier than expected -- with the new chip possibly suitable for a MacBook Pro refresh.




The report, from Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, does not specify which processors in particular the manufacturers have on-hand, nor does it delve into specifics of the chips themselves.

Initial supply chain reports claimed that the laptop-suitable Kaby Lake processors would arrive in tandem with the desktop-class chips, by the end of 2016. However, Intel itself noted at the end of July that the first chips had been delivered to manufacturers earlier than expected because of excellent yields, so Monday's report is not likely regarding the lower-end chips.

The first batch of Windows devices using the U- and Y-series Kaby Lake processors shipped in July have just started shipping to retailers.

Kaby Lake is Intel's next step following the sixth generation Skylake. The seventh generation of the chip uses the same 14-nanometer process as Skylake, and adds native USB 3.1 Generation 2 support, bringing full 10 Gbps speeds to the protocol. Skylake and earlier processors require a discrete controller chip for the full speed, with the 2016 12-inch MacBook still being limited to 5 Gbps with inclusion of USB 3.1 Generation 1.


MacBook Pro render. | Source: Martin Hajek


Also included in the seventh generation Kaby Lake processor is integrated support for the 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3, which uses the same connector as USB 3.1 type C, as well as the ability to use "passive" cabling for 10 Gbps speeds. Thunderbolt 3 has sufficient bandwidth to drive a pair of 4K displays at 60Hz, and contains HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2.

Also expected in Kaby Lake are also integrated graphics speed improvements.

Kaby Lake will ultimately have five classes of processors, with two classes for devices like the Retina MacBook and the MacBook Air; one for laptops like the MacBook Pro; and two spanning servers, high-power workstations, and desktops.

Typically, samples for computer designers like Apple are delivered a few months before full public announcement, with sufficient capacity only available for large-scale manufacture months later.

DigiTimes has a spotty track record of picking out Apple product specifics. However, the venue focuses on overall supply chain, and is generally accurate on timelines of specific part arrival to manufacturers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    xzuxzu Posts: 139member
    This is really, really good news, I am very excited about the new portables! Hopefully Apple gives its Pro the same love soon.
    toranagarepressthisnetmage
  • Reply 2 of 38
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    xzunetmage
  • Reply 3 of 38
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,666member
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    Sounds like low volume shipments, and makes the wait for new Mac's worthwhile. I was never keen on Skylake as it was missing too much in the way of connectivity, and it was noted to be very buggy in Surface products. Apple likely made the right decision to wait for Kabylake, but we'll know that when they arrive.
    repressthisxzuoldbluegmc50netmage
  • Reply 4 of 38
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    True. It's possible Apple may announce new MBP's Wednesday with a ship date of November. Apple shouldn't have issues getting first dibs on the chips. 
    xzunetmage
  • Reply 5 of 38
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,830member
    I'd say there will be a different Mac announcement sometime in October. I'm thinking Sept 7th won't have anything Mac related except for maybe macOS. I can already hear the pissing and moaning about the lack of a new MacBook Pro/iMac. Tim must be fired for this!
    toranagarepressthisxzuoldbluegmc50netmage
  • Reply 6 of 38
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,437member
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    True. It's possible Apple may announce new MBP's Wednesday with a ship date of November. Apple shouldn't have issues getting first dibs on the chips. 
    Apple isn't the #1 manufacturer of computers, so I don't see why they would have priority over anyone else.   And I don't see how if chips are just getting delivered to manufacturers now and not necessarily in large quantities, how Apple releases a new MBP with those chips in November, even though some Window machines are apparently already hitting the market.   It's not like there's no other design needed around those chips and they're plug-and-play.    Remember, although Apple usually flies some initial shipments to the States, most machines come by boat from China.  That in itself can take six weeks, which means shipments from China have to start by October 15th.   That's only 40 days away.       

    Is there any past history where Apple received samples of chips in late August or early September and still delivered machines in quantity before the end of the year?

    I hope I'm totally wrong.  I'm still using a late-2008 MBP and need a new computer.   I don't want to have to wait another year.   But since I keep my machines so long, I also don't want to buy old tech.   So I would love to be proven wrong and be able to buy a new MBP with Kaby Lake in November. 
    oldbluegmc50
  • Reply 7 of 38
    zoetmb said:
    Apple isn't the #1 manufacturer of computers, so I don't see why they would have priority over anyone else.  
    There are some reasons. For one thing, while Windows Pcs may still outsell Macs, Macs outsell most other brands (Lenovo, Dell, etc). Not usually #1, but frequently in the top 5 these days. 

    Then look at what everyone sells. Most Windows laptops sell with cheap, low margin CPUs. Apple is the only company that sells quality, high margin CPUs in quantity. 

    If Intel is able to get high volumes of their high end mobile CPUs ready now, it absolutely makes sense to send them to Apple. 
    stevehnetmage
  • Reply 8 of 38
    P.s. One other thing, recall what Tim Cook was famous for before he became ceo -- mastery of the supply chain. Read up on the iPod monopsony. This is exactly the sort of deal Cook excels at. 
    repressthisxzunetmage
  • Reply 9 of 38
    zoetmb said:
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    True. It's possible Apple may announce new MBP's Wednesday with a ship date of November. Apple shouldn't have issues getting first dibs on the chips. 
    Apple isn't the #1 manufacturer of computers, so I don't see why they would have priority over anyone else.  
    As another poster said, Apple uses the higher margin parts, and they also have a good relationship. It wouldn't be the first time Apple got new chips before anyone else. 
    xzunetmage
  • Reply 10 of 38
    This is great news and makes a lot of sense for the big delay.  Why would Apple take so long to upgrade the MBP to only use Skylake processors since this could have been rolled out in June for the big back to school period.  My college age son has been waiting all year for this upgrade but went back to college with his 3 year old Asus which he hates.  

    Since the new MBP will be thinner and lighter then Kaby Lake makes sense since it eliminates the external chips needed to provide 10Gbps USB3.1 and 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3.  I am so looking forward to a couple of nice Christmas presents. 
    toranagarepressthisxzunetmage
  • Reply 11 of 38
    macxpress said:
    I'd say there will be a different Mac announcement sometime in October. I'm thinking Sept 7th won't have anything Mac related except for maybe macOS. I can already hear the pissing and moaning about the lack of a new MacBook Pro/iMac. Tim must be fired for this!

    Exactly. Major Mac release announcement is likely in October. With full production available until November'ish, that actually lines up well..

    Problem: Would Apple switch to Kaby Lake this quickly if they didn't expect it until late December? Intel says they were surprised to be a head of schedule.. Apple tends to plan and lock in chips MONTHS ahead.. so, it's very possible that even though Intel was actually a head, we won't see Kaby Lake until next year sometime and Apple will release Skylake systems this year..

    In which case, I may, yet again, wait on upgrading my 2012 MBP
    edited September 2016 toranaganetmage
  • Reply 12 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    True. It's possible Apple may announce new MBP's Wednesday with a ship date of November. Apple shouldn't have issues getting first dibs on the chips. 
    In the past, they've gotten chips first or special SKUs from Intel, but I think those were only for Mac Pros and iMacs, not their relatively high-volume notebooks.

    If Apple can't get Kaby lake for a shipping MBP this year, then I'd be happy with Skylake, assuming all the other noted changes to the MBP are also coming down the pipe.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,666member
    zoetmb said:
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    True. It's possible Apple may announce new MBP's Wednesday with a ship date of November. Apple shouldn't have issues getting first dibs on the chips. 
    Apple isn't the #1 manufacturer of computers, so I don't see why they would have priority over anyone else.   And I don't see how if chips are just getting delivered to manufacturers now and not necessarily in large quantities, how Apple releases a new MBP with those chips in November, even though some Window machines are apparently already hitting the market.   It's not like there's no other design needed around those chips and they're plug-and-play.    Remember, although Apple usually flies some initial shipments to the States, most machines come by boat from China.  That in itself can take six weeks, which means shipments from China have to start by October 15th.   That's only 40 days away.       

    Is there any past history where Apple received samples of chips in late August or early September and still delivered machines in quantity before the end of the year?

    I hope I'm totally wrong.  I'm still using a late-2008 MBP and need a new computer.   I don't want to have to wait another year.   But since I keep my machines so long, I also don't want to buy old tech.   So I would love to be proven wrong and be able to buy a new MBP with Kaby Lake in November. 
    Excepting the Mac Book, every Mac will come with Thunderbolt 3, which is an Intel product; something that Surface Pro and Surface Book don't have. Apple sets the bar for connectivity and power/watt, and if the rumors are accurate, will have a TB3 5K screen with an internal GPU, adding even higher performance to notebooks and laptops.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    tmay said:
    zoetmb said:
    If Intel has just started 'sampling' of these CPU's to kit makers then it could be several months before the yield rates get good enough for them to start shipping in volume to the likes of Apple.
    If it is the start of volume shipments then we may see finished devices available before the end of the year which can't come soon enough for many of us.

    True. It's possible Apple may announce new MBP's Wednesday with a ship date of November. Apple shouldn't have issues getting first dibs on the chips. 
    Apple isn't the #1 manufacturer of computers, so I don't see why they would have priority over anyone else.   And I don't see how if chips are just getting delivered to manufacturers now and not necessarily in large quantities, how Apple releases a new MBP with those chips in November, even though some Window machines are apparently already hitting the market.   It's not like there's no other design needed around those chips and they're plug-and-play.    Remember, although Apple usually flies some initial shipments to the States, most machines come by boat from China.  That in itself can take six weeks, which means shipments from China have to start by October 15th.   That's only 40 days away.       

    Is there any past history where Apple received samples of chips in late August or early September and still delivered machines in quantity before the end of the year?

    I hope I'm totally wrong.  I'm still using a late-2008 MBP and need a new computer.   I don't want to have to wait another year.   But since I keep my machines so long, I also don't want to buy old tech.   So I would love to be proven wrong and be able to buy a new MBP with Kaby Lake in November. 
    ...will have a TB3 5K screen with an internal GPU, adding even higher performance to notebooks and laptops.
    I'm expecting Apple to release a standalone display that is 5K or higher, but I'm not expecting their notebooks to get a higher pixel density.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    adrayven said:
    macxpress said:
    I'd say there will be a different Mac announcement sometime in October. I'm thinking Sept 7th won't have anything Mac related except for maybe macOS. I can already hear the pissing and moaning about the lack of a new MacBook Pro/iMac. Tim must be fired for this!

    Exactly. Major Mac release announcement is likely in October. With full production available until November'ish, that actually lines up well..

    Problem: Would Apple switch to Kaby Lake this quickly if they didn't expect it until late December? Intel says they were surprised to be a head of schedule.. Apple tends to plan and lock in chips MONTHS ahead.. so, it's very possible that even though Intel was actually a head, we won't see Kaby Lake until next year sometime and Apple will release Skylake systems this year..

    In which case, I may, yet again, wait on upgrading my 2012 MBP
    This is in reference to your questioning of how "Intel says they were surprised to be a head of schedule.. Apple tends to plan and lock in chips MONTHS ahead" so how could Apple plan this?  Apple may have known about this months before, Intel made a public comment about it in July- Apple may have been briefed on it well before. By the time this stuff becomes public it can be quite delayed. One thing that comes to mind from when I worked in government is that we were briefed on a solar initiative and then 11 months later there was a big article in the Wall Street Journal about it. So we knew about it waaay before even the WSJ- or at least before the WSJ was 'allowed' to report on it.  Shows you that sometimes what top tier news media report is not the "new"s.
    netmage
  • Reply 16 of 38
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,129member
    Lets hope they include their own S10X too. Only a small (though disproportionately vocal) number of users require x86 compatibility. The majority of runtime can be handled by ARM with x86 spun up if required.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    mcdave said:
    Lets hope they include their own S10X too. Only a small (though disproportionately vocal) number of users require x86 compatibility. The majority of runtime can be handled by ARM with x86 spun up if required.
    1) S10X? You mean Apple's ARM designs with CPU and GPU cores and clock rate, and RAM that's suitable for a notebook or desktop? If so, would they include that with an Intel chip? I don't think that LITTLE.big has been very effective, and that's all ARM, and I also don't see how macOS can be built to run under ARM and then allow for dual, cross-architecture processing if and when you need an x86-based program. If you mean that it would allow emulation of x86 apps the way that created Rosetta when they made the jump to Intel from IBM, I don't think that's feasible since PPC had been steadily falling behind Intel, which precipitated the migration. If this happens, I think it will be at the low-end of Apple's "PC" product line, use the App Store as the primary source for apps, and have no emulation of x86 apps since large app suites from MS and Adobe aren't necessary out of the gate when talking about an entry-level machine that could start a couple hundred dollars lower than the current Mac notebook without sacrificing perceived performance, or per unit or per machine category profits.

    2) Doesn't S-series refer to the ARM chip in the Apple Watch, and A-series refer to the chips in their iDevices? Wouldn't an ARM-based chip from Apple for their "PC" line then have its own name; perhaps an M-series starting with M1?
    oldbluegmc50netmage
  • Reply 18 of 38
    anomeanome Posts: 1,266member
    Soli said:
    mcdave said:
    Lets hope they include their own S10X too. Only a small (though disproportionately vocal) number of users require x86 compatibility. The majority of runtime can be handled by ARM with x86 spun up if required.
    2) Doesn't S-series refer to the ARM chip in the Apple Watch, and A-series refer to the chips in their iDevices? Wouldn't an ARM-based chip from Apple for their "PC" line then have its own name; perhaps an M-series starting with M1?

    Except M-Series is the motion sensor package in iDevices, so that's out. I doubt they're going to release an ARM co-processor in an Intel system anyway. When they move to ARM (which they almost certainly will, just probably not for a while), it will be all in.

    They might want to have their own designed Secure Enclave, though, especially if we're getting TouchID on the MacBook Pro. At the moment, that's part of the A-Series chip, and it would possibly need some work, and help from Intel, to get it integrated into the Sky/Kaby//Groom Lake chipset.

    netmage
  • Reply 19 of 38
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,648member
    mcdave said:
    Lets hope they include their own S10X too. Only a small (though disproportionately vocal) number of users require x86 compatibility. The majority of runtime can be handled by ARM with x86 spun up if required.
    An idle thought: seeing as Apple can do excellent ARM processors, why not design out their own x86 chip for Intel or someone else to build? Got to be some reason for that massive R&D spending.
    edited September 2016 bigpics
  • Reply 20 of 38
    xzuxzu Posts: 139member
    Apple could release a mixture of Skylake and Kaby Lake notebooks, with the later shipping in a month or two. But i doubt they would bifurcate the computer mobos. And a new mini would be great with a smidgen of graphics power, even mobile graphics at this point. And a crescendo of new tech for the Mac Pro with updated thunderbolt and graphics, throw in a display and we have a party. But in reality they are moving their entire operation to new facilities....  I can only imagine that the disruptions in the planning alone, best to keep expectations low for the next 12-18 months and ride it out.
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