It's almost hard to believe, but it's already been over 9 months since Intel released its latest processors based on the Skylake microarchitecture. If you'll recall, Skylake landed at a bit of a strange time, as its predecessor, Broadwell, had been released only a couple of months earlier. Never before did we see an CPU series replaced so quickly, but as we found out not long after, Broadwell wasn't going to be the only odd duckling in Intel's processor lineup.
In November, a new leak showed us that Skylake's original successor, Cannonlake, was definitely not going to be happening on time. Instead, Intel had to push back the release of that new "tick" to give us something else in the meantime: Kaby Lake.
When it gets here, Cannonlake will be built on a 10nm process, but as with Skylake and Broadwell, Kaby Lake is going to retain the 14nm design. What this in-between release will afford us is native USB 3.1 support, full fixed-function HEVC Main10 and VP9 10-bit hardware decoding, and support for HDCP 2.2. As with Skylake, Kaby Lake will support DDR4 and Thunderbolt 3. The new chips should also be installable in modern LGA1151 motherboards with an EFI update.
Up to this point, we haven't heard much about specifics regarding Kaby Lake, but now, some questions are being answered (if the rumor is correct, of course). According to the latest leak, Intel's next top-end mainstream chip will be the i7-7700K, which would follow in the direct footsteps of the i7-6700K. These names are so simple, it's almost as if they could be guessed!
Thanks to a results publishing to SiSoftware's Sandra website, we can see that this new i7-7700K is clocked at 3.60GHz and can top out at 4.20GHz. This is a little interesting as the i7-6700K is a 4.0GHz chip out-of-the-gate. Perhaps the 7700K will be a great overclocking chip, helping to negate the clock loss? Time will tell.
If you're wondering if you'll want to upgrade to Kaby Lake from Skylake, Broadwell, or even Haswell, the immediately safe answer would be "no". While Kaby Lake is a great iterative release, there's nothing ground-breaking here. So unless you are running an outdated rig, you'll almost assuredly be fine holding off until Cannonlake's release.