Intel and Apple rumored to be discussing iPhone processor manufacturing deal

intel-editoralA Reuters report has suggested Intel and Apple are in discussions for the chip manufacturer to take over production of Apple’s A series mobile processors, a move which would see Intel increase its burgeoning contract manufacturing business, and Apple lessen its reliance on Samsung.

It’s all a little uncertain though, as according to the unnamed source in Reuters story, the deal was discussed, “In the past year,” but nothing was agreed. This isn’t much of a surprise, as last year Intel and Apple hit the headlines for a different but slightly related reason. According to those rumors, Apple was considering using ARM-based chips inside future generations of its Mac computers, shifting away from Intel in the process.

Two Intel spokespeople commented on the latest twist in the Intel/Apple tale. Chuck Mulloy, credited as a representative for Intel, said the two companies are, “Constantly” talking, but had nothing to say regarding Apple employing Intel to make its mobile chips. Intel’s Custom Foundry VP did say his team is, “Ready to take on a potential large, unidentified mobile customer,” but it’s not clear whether this is related to an actual deal, let alone one with Apple.

Should Apple shift from Samsung to Intel, don’t expect the iPhone to suddenly sport Medfield or Clover Trail+ Atom processors, as Intel would produce ARM-compatible chips for Apple. Again, this came up last year, when an analyst for RBC Capital speculated on just this type of deal, which would involve Intel making the ARM chips for the iPhone, if Apple switched to x86 architecture for the iPad.

While we can’t see Apple entertaining that idea, given how closely the iPhone and iPad are linked, Intel producing Apple’s A series chips could be mutually beneficial. At the moment, it’s all a rumor, but a big decision like this could be exactly what a new CEO would love to use to make his or her mark.


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