Apple has Intel inside--sort of

Although its Mac computers use only chips from other makers, Apple's storage gear does have an Intel processor inside. Photo: Intel-powered Xserve

SAN FRANCISCO--It's not the product some have been hoping for, but there is already one Apple Computer machine that has "Intel Inside."

For a long time, people have suggested that Apple make its Mac OS X operating system work with Intel chips. While the Mac maker has not done so, it has used Intel processors in one of its recent products--the Xserve RAID storage system.

Intel-powered Xserve

Intel included one of the rack-mounted storage systems in a display at this week's Intel Developer Forum here. The device sat in a rack, surrounded by products from more familiar Intel customers such as IBM and Dell.

According to Intel marketing materials, the Xserve RAID uses Intel's IOP 331 chip, a derivative of the XScale processor. The IOP chip, which is used in many storage systems, is designed to speed the task of shuttling data in and out of a computer system.

The use of an Intel chip does not appear to be part of a broader trend, however. Apple has resisted demands to move away from the PowerPC chips made by IBM and Freescale Semiconductor.

As recently as last month, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer reiterated that Apple has no plans to offer Mac OS X on anything other than the kinds of chips it currently uses. In the past, CEO Steve Jobs has said that such a move is technically feasible, but not something the company has seen a need to do.

An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.

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