Apple’s next-generation iPhones and iPads could be powered by Intel processors, analysts' forecast suggest.
According to numerous industry observers with knowledge of developments, the iGiant is in discussions with the chip-maker concerning the prospects of manufacturing chips for future iDevices, as it bids to reduce its dependency on parts made by Samsung.
Apple currently has a contact manufacturing agreement with Samsung that expires in 2014. However, after the South Korean titan raised the prices of its processors following its court defeat last year, it led many to believe that this relationship could be on its last legs.
Speculation that Intel might depose Samsung as Apple’s major chip purveyor has been rife since it boosted its capital spending budget from $11 billion to $13 billion this year.
Analysts believe that joining forces with Apple will be a giant step in the right direction for the semiconductor company, which has struggled to crack the smartphone market amid stiff competition from its ARM rivals.
"If you can have a strategic relationship where you're making chips for one of the largest mobile players, you should definitely consider that. And for Apple, that gets them a big advantage," said Pat Becker Jr of Becker Capital Management.
Intel’s current CEO Paul Otellini will be stepping down from his post in May. Whoever takes the helm after that will be expected to take advantage of the potential void that would be left if Apple finally cuts Samsung loose.
"This is potentially huge," said JMP analyst Alex Gauna.
"The new CEO will have a very large opportunity to take this to the next level. Those discussions about taking on Apple as a foundry customer are going to be very complex and very contentious."
What that would mean for Samsung remains to be seen. However, given that Apple is one of its biggest customers, losing its business will surely not sit too well with its investors.