According to reports, the launch of Intel Lunar Lake processors for Intel mobile devices will be delayed until the end of the year, which means no significant back-to-school period

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The next-generation Intel Lunar Lake mobile processors have been highly anticipated, and we’ve been eager to get our hands on them since they were announced earlier this month. Recent reports, however, suggest we won’t see the fresh chips until later this year, which means Intel could miss an significant back-to-school laptop trading period.

Digitimes Asia reported (via Hardware times) that the fresh Lunar Lake chips are not expected to ship until September, not June as previously suggested.

If these reports are true, it puts Intel in the unenviable position of coming to market much later than AMD’s fresh Ryzen AI 300-series processors (still rumored to arrive in July) and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X-series chips, which will be available in gigantic numbers of laptops from virtually all major manufacturers over the next few months.

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This puts Intel firmly on the back foot, because while Lunar Lake’s chip design and performance claims look impressive, being tardy to the party means that tardy summer laptop sales will likely be gobbled up by the competition.

Students will likely be looking for laptops with the latest chips and the “AI PC” brand, and at this point it looks like devices powered by AMD or Qualcomm processors may be the only models technically eligible.

For a processor to be classified by Microsoft as an AI-enabled computer, it must be equipped with an NPU with AI processing performance of at least 45 TOPS and the only Intel mobile chip currently capable of supporting it, Meteor Lake. manages 34 TOPs from the entire package, with a measly 10 TOPS from NPU alone.

So what could be causing this delay? Well, despite Intel’s long-term roadmap of five fresh nodes over four years, after three years the compute board for Lunar Lake uses TSMC’s N3B node.

This is somewhat concerning as N3B yields are reportedly quite impoverished. Apple appears to have moved away from the troublesome node, focusing instead on its fresh M4 chip at TSMC’s N3E node, abandoning the previous M3 series for the N3B in several of its products. Of course, other factors may be at play, but these appear to have a potential impact on the delay if confirmed.

Time will tell whether brand association alone will be enough to convince laptop buyers to buy older Intel processors instead of the shiny fresh chips from its main competitors. However, if these reports are true, it could be disturbing news for a company that increasingly looks like AMD and others are eating its lunch.

What about desktop processors? Well, AMD’s Zen 5 chips have been announced and it looks like they’re very close, while news about Arrow Lake has gone serene for now. It appears that Intel is playing catch-up and these delays, if true, won’t do much to change the perception that the company is struggling to keep pace.

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