Not to be confused with switching iPhones and iPads to Intel-powered chipsets, Apple is rumored to have been in discussions to have their existing iOS device chipsets manufactured by Intel's industry leading foundries. Noel Randewich and Nadia Damouni of Reuters report:
Intel said last week it will open up its prized manufacturing technology to make chips designed by fellow chipmaker Altera -- snagging its first sizeable customer in a contract manufacturing, or "foundry", business expected to grow.
That has spurred talk of an Apple deal. A source close to one of the companies says Intel and Apple executives have discussed the issue in the past year but no agreement has been reached.
Previously, Intel manufactured only their own chipsets. While Reuters says no deal has yet been made, the advantages of switching to Intel are several. First, it removes Samsung, now a major rival, from Apple's chip manufacturing chain. Not only funding, but giving access to a company that's shown no hesitation to take inspiration from Apple in the past is a growing competitive disadvantage. Second, Intel remains the most advanced chip fab in the world, and will likely be able to take Apple to smaller die sizes faster than anyone else, allowing for more power efficient processors earlier.
Apple's size, and their tendency to order huge volumes of the same or similar components, makes them attractive clients, but also helps Apple enjoy tremendous economies of scale.
An Apple/Intel fab deal, if it ever comes to pass, could be a huge win for everyone. Apple gets better chips, Intel gets more diverse revenue, we get more advanced iPhones and iPads, and Samsung gets to turn all that foundry capacity towards making more Galaxy chips.
If it ever comes to pass.