Speculation Links Intel to Potentially Build an iDevice Processor


Intel Inside

Intel is desperate to enter the mobile market. As IC sales slow down (2% drop), the manufacturer needs to move things around to regain its lost momentum. What could give a boost to Intel? An Apple partnership, claims a new study signed by IC Insights, which foresees a possible deal between the parties for future 10nm processors.

The key to the partnership could be Intel’s Fab 42, which currently sits idle as the company has decided not to equip the facility located in Chandler, Arizona. Projections were for 40,000 300nm wafers per month, and the company has stated that it expects the facility to be used for manufacturing at the 10nm process node after first ramping and running 14nm, Patently Apple highlights.

So what makes IC Insights think the rumoured Apple-Intel partnership could become a reality? First of all: Apple tries to distance itself from Samsung, its primary application processor manufacturer, so it has contracted TSMC. The South Korean partner produced about $3.4 billion worth of processors for Apple in 2013.

Secondly, Apple has reportedly split application processor orders among its suppliers: TSMC, GlobalFoundries, and Samsung.

What makes Intel stand out from the crowd is its expertise and technology: According to IC Insights, Intel is about one year ahead of both Samsung and TSMC in IC process technology.

Process roadmap

If Apple agrees to work with Intel’s application processors at the 10nm node in Fab 42, this could mean it would have access to the leading edge processing technology in the world, the study claims. This could obviously boost the performance of iDevices both in the tablet and smartphone markets.


  • Nik Iafrancesco

    This seems like the next logical step for mobile devices. If they run on the Intel architecture it could make cross-platform software easier to write; and we could see much more powerful applications coming to portable devices. But this is not to say we’re moving toward the convergence of desktop and mobile platforms; I really think Apple was sincere in not wanting to go down that path, especially having seen Microsoft’s failure to do so with Windows 8.
    Also, I think the only reason Intel wasn’t powering iPhones since the version iteration is because up until just recently they haven’t had a solution that was as effective as the ARM offerings.