Intel has reportedly delayed the launch of its Cannon Lake laptop processors until the end of 2018, putting the CPU architecture a full 18 months behind its original target of mid-2017.

The delay raises questions about both processors and maximum RAM for next year’s MacBook Pro models …

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The source of the report is Digitimes, which has a mixed track record, but as Patently Apple notes, this is backed by a slide in an Intel presentation that appears to confirm the timing.

Intel has reportedly been facing difficulties with its 10nm process. The Cannon Lake processors, originally set for launch in 2017, have seen their launch schedule revised three times: first to the end of 2017 or early 2018, then to the mid-2018, and now the end of 2018, the sources noted.

If the report is correct, that would force Apple to opt for less-efficient Coffee Lake CPUs for next year’s MacBook Pro. This would also mean sticking with LPDDR 3 RAM, which limits maximum memory to 16GB. With Cannon Lake, Apple would have been able to use LPDDR 4 and increase the maximum to 32GB.

The 16GB RAM maximum in the 2016 MacBook Pro was the subject of considerable criticism before it was revealed that this was a constraint imposed by the fact that the Kaby Lake processor did not support the later low-power RAM chips needed to offer 32GB.

If Apple does need to use Coffee Lake next year, it’s likely that it would then skip Cannon Lake altogether and move straight to Ice Lake for a later refresh. This is expected to be available in late 2018 or early 2019, meaning that it will – in theory, at least – launch soon after Cannon Lake.

TrendForce last month estimated that MacBook shipments grew by 17% in Q2.


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