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Tuesday, August 22, 2006, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Intel delays, new product, Apple Expo

Caught off guard by surging PC demand, Intel is facing a potentially dangerous chipset shortage. Meanwhile, vague rumors continue to surround a new Apple/Intel gadget. And Apple is rumored to be making an attempt to ban all non-iPod digital music players from next month's Apple Expo.

Intel battling Broadwater shortage

A sudden spike in PC demand has created a shortage of Intel's new 965 Express Chipset. The chipset, formerly code-named "Broadwater," controls the flow of data between the microprocessor and other parts of a personal computer system.

When coupled with Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, Intel has said the 965 Express will enable "breakthrough PC performance, greater power efficiency, quieter systems and theatre-like sound quality, among other benefits."

In speaking to Macworld UK, a marketing director for Asustek Computer — the world's largest motherboard maker — said he did not know of any production glitches related to 965 Express. Instead, the exec said he believes that the sharp upswing in demand caught Intel by surprise.

Last year, a similar Intel chipset shortage aided AMD, allowing the rival chip maker to post market share gains. At the time, Intel vowed to make sure there was no repeat shortage, saying it would set aside two advanced chip plants to manufacture the 965 chipset family and ensure a plentiful supply.

"The problem could grow if demand continues to rise," Macworld UK reported. "It takes several weeks to finish production of a chipset, meaning output increases can take some time to actually reach the market."

The shortage could potentially delay the release of Apple's upcoming Core 2 Duo-based systems.

Apple/Intel convergence product?

Meanwhile, The Inquirer on Monday published an obscure rambling about Apple, Intel, Steve Jobs and some blue dolphins dancing in the water.

"The latest rumor is that Intel and Apple are working together on a kind of intelligent device which is no iPod because it has more of a brain than that," the publication said in the otherwise substance-less report.

A recent blog posting had alluded to excitement among Intel executives about the way Apple was "thinking different" about the chip maker's technology and the possibility for future Intel/Apple gadgets.

"That's really what's interesting about Apple, is they look at our technology in a very Apple way," Deborah Conrad, vice president and director of Intel's Apple team has been quoted as saying.

Apple bans promotion of iPod rivals at expo

This one may no longer come as a surprise. According to MacBidouille, Apple has instated a new policy for next month's Apple Expo which forbids exhibitors from displaying or promoting any digital music player other than the iPod.

"First in line to be affected by this decision is Sony," the report states. "Hard to understand given that the Japanese giant will once again have a big stand in the exhibition hall."

Earlier this week, promoters for the Paris, France-based trade show said Apple Computer opted not to host an opening keynote presentation at the event.