According to an article published in DigiTimes on Monday, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has told its motherboard partners that its next generation Skylake processors (and the accompanying support chipset) will not be coming until August 2015. This, the report notes, represents a delay from the second quarter of 2015.
Additionally, there is another source that corroborates DigiTimes' claims. VR-Zone China posted what seems to be an internal Intel document showing that the Skylake desktop introduction date is between August 2015 and October 2015.
The impact and the potential cause
The DigiTimes report goes on to indicate that Intel's PC OEM customers will not be able to show off Skylake-based systems at the Computex trade show in June -- the very same venue at which Intel launched the current generation Haswell chips in 2013. DigiTimes reports that motherboard makers believe that this could have an impact on PC sales in the second half of 2015.
What is particularly interesting is that DigiTimes says that its sources are saying that the Skylake delay might be due to Intel wanting to "avoid overlapping sales with previous platforms." This would seem to contradict the following claim from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich during the Jan. 15 conference call:
Let me first kind of answer how we are looking at this and we are not going to slow Skylake down. We said it will be a second half of this year. I don't want to slow it down because it brings a lot of innovation, a lot of new capability to this market.
Further, the current Haswell desktop CPU generation will have been in the market for about two years now (technically Intel "refreshed" them with slightly faster models, but they are fundamentally the same chips), so it's high time for a transition to both a new architecture and a new manufacturing technology.
There's good news and bad news
The good news is that Intel's current desktop Haswell product line is virtually unmatched and, in my view, the situation isn't likely to change. If somebody needs a desktop PC now, then whether PC vendors are selling Skylake systems or Haswell systems, that person will likely buy an Intel system.
The bad news, though, is that many customers know that Skylake is just around the corner. Further, since Skylake is a "tock," people who follow the technology know that the generation-on-generation leap in performance between Haswell and Skylake could be far more compelling that the improvement between Haswell and Broadwell.
To what extent current Haswell-based desktop systems will suffer from the Osborne Effect is unclear at this time. However, I suspect that I'm not alone in thinking that if I were in the market for a desktop computer, I'd hold off for Skylake unless I absolutely needed a computer today.
Why Skylake will be a big deal
I believe Skylake will represent a pretty significant advancement over the current Haswell processors. The processor core should be a new design and the graphics processor and media subsystem are also reported to be significantly overhauled. The processor will also be built on Intel's 14-nanometer technology which should only serve to amplify the architectural enhancements that the chip brings.
In short, I expect it to be a significant generational leap in performance, features, and power consumption. As an Intel shareholder, I hope the company and its partners can get systems based on these chips as soon as possible.