Intel's next-gen processor, Broadwell, is (mostly) a 2015 thing

If you're waiting for a redesigned Mac or Windows 8.1 device with Intel's latest and greatest silicon, chances are you will have to wait until 2015 to got to a store and pick one up.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Waiting for a MacBook Air using Intel's newest Broadwell processor? Problem is, volume availability on store shelves of Broadwell-based products won't happen until 2015. Apple

Don't hold your breath if you're expecting lots new Macs and mobile Windows products this year running on Intel's newest processor.

Products like the new iMac, announced Wednesday, and Surface Pro 3, announced last month, have made this clear: both still rely on Intel's Haswell processor announced a year ago at the 2013 Computex.

"We expect the initial Broadwell-based devices, including fanless 2-in-1s built on the Core M processor, will be on shelves by the end of this year with more products and broader OEM availability in 2015," Intel told CNET on Wednesday.

The operative phrase here is "broader availability in 2015." So, expect limited availability of products like the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi that use Intel's power-frugal Core M Broadwell chip and other announcements in the fourth quarter but volume availability, for the most part, of mobile products on store shelves won't happen until 2015.

Public comments from Intel to date have said availability of the chipmaker's first 14-nanometer processor will be in the "second half of 2014" or by the holiday season.

In the past, laptops and desktops based on Intel's next processor have begun to roll out over the summer in time for back-to-school. But that's not happening this year.

That can slow down the release of novel, new products that rely on the improved power efficiencies and/or speed of new processors. And frustrate device makers that like new chips because it can give the product longer shelf life.

"PC manufacturers who need their lineups to last well into and through the 'holiday' selling season understandably would prefer to launch with Intel's Broadwell," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

The upshot is that Haswell will be the mainstay chip in laptops, hybrids, tablets, and desktops through 2014 -- media noise in the fourth quarter from device makers about upcoming Broadwell-based products notwithstanding.

It's not all bad news, though. "Haswell...is still very much a competitive product as evidenced by its performance. Apple gets 12 hours today on the 13" Mac Air and that's unreal," said Moorhead.