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Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Apple considering Intel chip for future iPhone

Apple may eventually abandon its custom-designed Samsung system on chip (SoC) found at the heart of the iPhone for one developed by Intel, according to a new report.

Citing OEM channel sources, DigiTimes claims that Apple has been looking closely at Intel's Moorestown mobile Internet device (MID) platform processor introduced at the Intel Developer Forum last month.

Although not expected until 2009, Moorestown chips will be based on Intel's 45-nanometer manufacturing process and therefore promise to be ten times more power-efficent than today's embedded mobile chips, enabling longer battery life in smaller form factors.

Similar to the Samsung SoC that Apple uses in its existing iPhone design, Moorestown will combine the CPU, graphics, video and memory controller onto a single chip. Based on Intel's "Menlow" MID design due out a year earlier, it will also incorporate wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, 3G and WiMAX.

Some Taiwanese channel vendors believe if Apple adopts the new Intel platform in its iPhone, it will reposition the MID market place and influence the future designs of not only mobile handsets, but also notebook systems.

For Apple, a move to the Intel architecture and away from the ARM-based Samsung chips would also present the opportunity for the Cupertino-based company to narrow the gap in the software code base of its handheld products — like the iPhone and iPod touch — with that of its Mac personal computer line.