Intel Might Become a Foundry -- For ARM? If Apple Goes x86

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | December 4, 2012 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: Intel, arm, apple

Hopefully I did not make your head hurt too much with that title.

Intel announced early in the year the opening of their fabrication labs to certain other developers, none of which competing with anything Intel does. We joked about how this is the end of the world as we know it although we feel fine. As it turns out, the world might end December 2012: RBC rumors that Intel might fulfill orders of ARM processors taking away that responsibility from Samsung.

Of course, there will always be a catch. It is possible that Intel will allow Apple to manufacture their ARM-based processors at Intel if Apple switches their tablets to x86-based products. No-one said the apocalypse must be an irrational event.

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When pigs fly? Challenge accepted.

If this rumor comes to fruition - and that is a mighty large if - we finally know that a line of apathy exists within Intel. Intel fabricating an architecture that they directly compete with is a big deal, ignore their motive.

Intel has allegedly made a compromise, definitively this time. We debated fairly heavily whether Intel made a compromise when they allowed FBGAs to be manufactured at their facilities. This time there is no question about whether Intel will make a concession to better its company as a whole.

I have no doubt that Intel desires to stomp competing platforms but we should all doubt that Intel would never step into some middle ground. After all, Intel is not even suffering at this point by any measure. Imagine if the situation actually begins to look dire.

Source: CNN
December 5, 2012 | 04:22 AM - Posted by windwalker

Intel must be growing increasingly desperate to be seeding this rumour.
They always struck me as more realistic than their co-monopolist Microsoft, so it makes sense to hear they are starting to somewhat acknowledge reality.

I don't see Apple giving Intel the opportunity to shaft them again.
After Apple made Intel build a custom chip for them to create the Macbook Air, Intel turned around and not only sold subsequent versions of it to anyone (fair game), but aggresively pushed and directly subsidised to the tune of $300 million efforts of PC manufacturers to clone the Macbook Air.

Apple can't be stupid enough to help Intel into the mobile area so they can turn around again and start advertising Intel inspired ultrapads.

December 5, 2012 | 06:11 AM - Posted by yanni (not verified)

Intel desperate? LOL!!!
Intel is trying to do to ARM, what ARM is doing to Intel. ARM is trying to get into the laptops, so Intel is trying to take iPad from ARM's camp. If they succeed it will be a huge victory for X86 and Intel.
Apple say NO to Intel? Why? They can say goodbye to Samsung laughing and take advantage of Intel's more advanced factories. In that way they can have faster and more efficient phones and tablets in the market than everyone else.

A little science fiction
If AMD doesn't manage to survive, you could see Apple buying it for peanuts and getting a nice license from Intel for X86 processors that go in mobile devices. Radeon graphics in future iPads and iPhones, custom X86 cores in iPads all fabricated in Intel factories.

December 5, 2012 | 11:01 AM - Posted by windwalker

You may LOL as much as you like but Intel surely isn't feeling comfortable with the PC market shrinking rapidly in Western markets.
Intel is going to have a very bumpy ride in the best case or become just a foundry in the worst case, that's why they decided they need fresh blood at the top.

Apple needs an x86 license like a fish needs a bicycle.
Why would they bother with AMD when they already have 20nm TSMC built ARMv8 chips on the roadmap for 2014 that are perfectly suited for MacBooks?

December 5, 2012 | 02:00 PM - Posted by yanni (not verified)

Because Intel is getting ready for 14nm and you can expect 14nm with no problems from Intel. TSMC's 20nm is a little bet. Ask Nvidia and AMD.

December 5, 2012 | 02:24 PM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

For what its worth I can see Apple moving the Mac Book Air to ARM. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Apple already has OS X running on ARM in their labs. So I think it is a move that Apple was already poised to make.

I find it difficult to imagine the iPad and iPhone migrating to Intel x86 / x64 though. I don’t think its something Apple was considering and even if they decided to make such a move it would take some time to develop.

Also, why would Apple need ARM manufacturing if it were switching to x86 / x64,….?

Wouldn’t it also disrupt the continuity of backward support? Apps built for the iPad on ARM for example would work with the new generation iPad on x86 / x64 (Atom,….???)

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