AMD Executives “seen on their way to a meeting” with Apple’s top executives has sparked a new rumor about Apple possibly using AMD chips (gpu, cpu – or both). First, some context: ever since Apple has decided to switch from the PowerPC processors to the X86 architecture, it has chosen to source its processors (CPUS) from Intel, the original creator of X86. AMD has always been an available option, but so far, Apple has not used AMD’s CPUs.
The word on the street is that it *might* change soon because AMD is now capable of delivering a processor+graphics combo that could be cheaper, while still maintaining good performance. That would allow Apple to increase its margins and put some competitive pressure on Intel who reins supreme since the introduction of its Core architecture years ago.
AppleInsider, the source of the rumor, goes on saying saying that “Apple may be planning to develop customized x64 CPUs for its Macs that AMD could be interested in building specifically for use by Apple”. We’re really entering into Wild Rumors Territory here: one doesn’t “just” develop a customized Intel-compatible CPUs. Intel owns the patent on the instruction set, and quite frankly AMD is the only company that can compete with Intel on that turf. It’s not as easy as it sounds, unless you think that Apple can walk on water.
There’s no question that AMD can help Apple to improve its margins, or even lower its prices, but there is also the hassle to handle more designs and it reduces the formidable economy of scale that Apple has by using very few SKUs (models). I don’t think that we should see more into this than friendly meetings with potential business partners. It’s not like AMD and Apple will only meet when they are on the verge of something big. Let’s wait and see.