A relationship between Apple and Intel has been whispered about for some time now, but so far nothing concrete has ever come to light. However, according to one analyst, that may be about to change.

Doug Freedman, an analyst over at RBC, claims that Apple big wigs may be open to using Intel’s X86 processors in new Apple gadgets like the next iPad if Intel agrees to build Apple’s own ARM-based smartphone chips (like the A6) in return.

Personally I was a bit surprised to hear this, simply because I would think Apple would want to keep a uniform chipset across all of its mobile devices, but having a chip-building veteran like Intel handling the production of the custom Apple chips would almost certainly reduce component shortages, making it easier for Apple to meet the incredible demand for its handhelds.

What’s more, it’s not like Intel’s chips are poor. In fact, they’re some of the best in the industry and Apple already uses them in its Mac line, so it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine an iPad with “Intel inside.”

According to Freedman,

“We believe Intel has the upper-hand due to the limitations of capacity at alternative sources … as the demand is outstripping Apple’s ability to add supply.”

Again, I must stress that this is nothing but a rumor, but a source close to the matter reportedly spoke to CNET and confirmed that the two tech giants have been talking back and forth for two years about forming this sort foundry relationship.

Another big incentive, at least for Apple, would definitely be a distancing from Samsung, which has been Apple’s go-to for chip manufacturing, However, with the recent lawsuits, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple seeking friendlier alternatives.

It’s worth noting that while this is interesting, it really wouldn’t affect the end user’s experience much. Whatever chips make it into our Apple products, and wherever they come from, I’m sure that Apple will make sure they meet the company’s stringent quality and performance requirements. What do you think?

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