Apple probably won't tap Intel until 2015: Piper Jaffray

Intel could emerge as chip manufacturer for Apple's iPad -- but much later, says Piper Jaffray.

Any chance for a product like the iPad Mini with an Intel processor inside isn't likely until 2015, says Piper Jaffray.
Any chance for a product like the iPad Mini with an Intel processor inside isn't likely until 2015, says Piper Jaffray. Apple

Don't hold your breath for Intel chips inside Apple iPads or iPhones.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gus Richard doesn't see it happening until 2015.

"We believe Apple could add roughly $5B-$6B/yr in revenue for Intel but is unlikely to be a foundry customer this year or next," said Richard, who follows Intel closely, in a research note today.

Five to six billion dollars in added revenue is nothing to sniff at in light of all the smartphone and tablet chip business now going to Intel rivals like Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Samsung.

But he added that for Intel's nascent contract manufacturing business -- or so-called foundry business -- "Apple remains elusive."

Intel's problem is that historically it has not been in the business of making chips for other companies -- as a company like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has been doing for decades.

So it's a time-consuming process for Intel to transition its business model and factories from manufacturing proprietary x86 processors to making chips based on an entirely different ARM design -- which Apple uses in the iPad and iPhone.

TSMC is expected to make Apple's next-generation of A series processors for the iPhone and iPad, probably starting in 2014. And Samsung will continue to build iPhone and iPad processors, as it has been doing for years.

Some analysts have speculated that Intel could begin making A series chips for Apple on a small scale well before 2015.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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