Apple to get slightly less cozy with Intel

Since 2005, when Apple first announced plans to switch to Intel, the companies have been joined at the microchip. Intel even tweaked its chip designs, reducing the size of the circuitry surrounding a cutting-edge chip to accommodate the tight confines of Apple's new MacBook Air. But a new report suggests Apple is getting antsy about Intel. AppleInsider says that while Apple will continue to use Intel CPUs, it will start designing its own custom chipsets — the motherboards on which processors sit and which houses all the supporting silicon. Could this have anything to do with Apple's recent purchase of chip designer PA Semi?

When Apple bought PA Semi in the spring, we thought Steve Jobs was looking for leverage in his negotiations with Intel for more custom designs. If Apple really is going to go back to designing its own motherboards — as it did before the Intel switch — then Intel may have called Jobs's bluff. Not that that's a bad thing for PA Semi's designers — working on Mac circuitry seems more appealing than tending to Pentagon contracts, as they were doing before.

(Intel Outside image via Loren Petrich)