Last month we reported on a rumor that Apple was considering ditching Intel on the Mac, and would rely on their own ARM chips instead. Now yet another new rumor arrives, and it is the polar opposite. Instead of relying less on Intel, the new rumor suggests that the iPhone and iPad might soon run on chips built by Intel.
According to RBC Capital markets analyst Doug Freedman, Apple is contemplating entering into a new agreement with Intel where the iPad would see a switch to Intel x86 processors. The catch here is that Intel would have to agree to build Apple’s self-designed ARM chips for the iPhone.
This would mean that all Apple devices would use Intel-built processors, but the iPhone would remain using ARM technology. The idea sounds more than a little crazy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Intel-based smartphones running on x86 processors have proven to work reasonably well with Android apps, so it is certainly possible to maintain multiple architectures on the same mobile platform.
Why would Intel agree to producing ARM chips for Apple’s iPhone line? Simply put, PC sales are on the decline and iPad sales are still on the rise. Having the iPad running on an Intel chip would bring Intel a pretty big chunk of revenue.
One analyst’s claim doesn’t give a ton of merit to a rumor of this magnitude, but RBC Capital isn’t the only one suggesting that an Apple-Intel mobile partnership is coming. An industry source has reported to CNET that talks about an Apple-Intel foundry relationship have been in the works for the past two years.
With the increased strain on Apple and Samsung’s relationship, Apple might feel that now is the time to make such a drastic move. For now, I’d take this all with a huge chunk of salt, but stranger things happen all the time I suppose. What do you think of the idea of Intel-based Apple iPads?