Intel refutes rumors of eliminating 10nm from the desktop, but don't expect anything till 2022
News about Intel's struggles with 10nm isn't exactly new, but rumors have started coming in that Intel is looking to scrap plans of any 10nm chips for the desktop. This was first reported by HardwareLuxx citing insider sources, who have had a fairly good record about CPU leaks in the past.
We do know that the upcoming Comet Lake-S in 2019/20 and subsequently, Rocket Lake-S in 2021 will continue to be based on the 14nm Skylake architecture — essentially, seven years of the same fabrication process since Broadwell with incremental improvements. HardwareLuxx's source seemed to state that the expected 10nm Tiger Lake-S and Alder Lake will not make it to the desktop. Instead, Intel would directly debut the 7nm Meteor Lake in 2022 although laptop versions of Tiger Lake will be based on 10nm. Actually, this does make sense given that Intel is yet to attain high clocks on 10nm that is needed for desktops and also the fact that Intel is yet to achieve the required high yields on the new process.
That being said, Intel has refuted the above information. In a not-so-detailed statement provided to Tom's Hardware, Intel said,
We continue to make great progress on 10nm, and our current roadmap of 10nm products includes desktop."
Furthering the ambiguity, Intel again clarified that 'desktop products' here means 'desktop CPUs'. There was no clarity as to whether that meant any specific parts for NUC, HEDT, etc. We do know that Xeons based on Ice Lake are still in the offing for 2020, though.
In all likelihood, Intel could be referring to Alder Lake based on the Golden Cove architecture that is expected to land sometime in 2022. By then, we can expect to see a 10nm++ architecture that could possibly overcome some of the clock speed limitations found in current gen Ice Lake chips. Only time will tell how much of a yield increase will Intel be able to achieve by late 2021/22.