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Friday, 08 March 2013 10:59

Intel is unlikely to make chips for Apple

Written by Nick Farrell



Not for years anyway

For some reason the tame Apple press has been getting all moist about Intel’s plans for building chips for rivals. The theory is that Intel will foundry Apple’s chips. It is not clear why this would be a good thing, but every story about Intel’s foundry business seems to mention Apple. Normally the Tame Apple Press does this for product placement, but the rumour seems to be gaining some momentum.

The problem is that it is incredibly unlikely at least for a couple of years. While Samsung is hacking off Apple, its chipmaking plant is merrily churning out all Apple needs at a good price. If Apple really got petty and decided to off Samsung, Intel would not its first port of call. TSMC, the largest contract chip manufacturer in the world would probably be rung up first. Apple is designing products now based on the TSMC 20-nanometer spec and production should happen in 2014.

So Apple will be sticking with Samsung for 28- and 32-nanometer production and then begin to move to TSMC at the more advanced 20nm stuff later on. It takes so much time that this change will not be ready until 2014. If it all goes pear shaped then it will take another couple of years for Intel to be in line to get the work.

Besides it is a moot point if Intel can get the work. The outfit probably does not have the IP to support a system-on-a-chip like the A6 and the A7 would be even trickier, at least for a couple of years.

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