Intel: Apple pushes us hard, helps shape our roadmap

Wed, May 18, 2011


In an interesting, though perhaps not terribly surprising revelation, chip maker Intel explained that Apple’s product line helps influence Intel’s own processor roadmap.

Speaking to Reuters at  the Global Technology Summit in New York today, Intel Senior Vice President Tom Kilroy explained that the success of Apple mobile products like the iPhone and iPad have shaped Intel’s ideas about the future of mobile devices and the chips that will power them.

“We work very closely with them,” Kilroy explained, “and we’re constantly looking down the road at what we can be doing relative to future products. I’d go as far as to say Apple helps shape our roadmap.”

“Apple — they push us hard,” Kilroy added.

Apple’s close relationship with Intel is, again, not terribly surprising and has even been mentioned a few times during product unveilings.

One of the most glaring examples of Apple’s working partnership with Intel was the development of Lightpeak, the blazingly fast transfer technology that has since been dubbed Thunderbolt. The technology was first demoed in late 2009, but Apple reportedly approached Intel about jointly developing a new interoperable transfer standard as early as 2007.

Back in 2009, Engadget provided us with the following scoop:

From what we’ve learned, the initial conversations (and apparent disagreements) were had directly between Steve Jobs and Paul Otellini… Cupertino apparently had specific demands for the standard, including the desire for a single port solution, and an insistence that optical was the only logical choice for such a connector type.

Intel has previously supplied Apple with specialized processors on the MacBook Air, and more recently, it was revealed that Apple’s new lineup of iMacs housed Intel’s as-of-then unreleased Z68 chipset.

Given the immense sales figures of Apple products, not to mention their reputation for quality, inclusion in Apple hardware is seen as a “major coup for electronics suppliers.”

Apple is of course seen as a major technological innovator, a point driven home by its ability to shape a heavyweight like Intel’s roadmap and receive special treatment from time to time.


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