If the rumours are correct, Apple is about to swap chip suppliers from IBM to Intel. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription), the computer manufacturer is ready to sign an agreement.
The deal would be completely insignificant if this wouldn't involve Apple. The company claims only a tiny 2.3 percent market share of the desktop computer market. Intel would hardly notice the additional business.
For Apple however switching to Intel chips would allow the company access to faster processors using dual cores and higher clockspeeds.
The deal in theory could also open the door for Windows and OS X to jump platforms. If Apple certifies its OS X software to run on Intel chips, there is little that stops consumers form installing the operating system on a machine from Dell. Or Windows on an iMac.
It's a Pandora's Box that Apple might want to keep shut. The company differentiates itself with both the design of its hardware and the operating system, but not with the hardware components (which it purchases from third parties like IBM and ATI). I for one would happily save the $500 (roughly the price difference between a top of the line PC and Apple's iMac) if that means I have to buy a tower PC that I hide under the desk.
Analysts were quick to refute the report. Apple is just out to put some pressure on IBM, which has been slow to pump up the speed on its Power line of processors. Besides switching platforms isn't a trivial move. It requires recoding and could break compatibility of existing third party applications.
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