Apple OS X already boots on Intel’s next-gen chip

Intel’s (INTC) next-generation Nehalem chip is already working with Apple’s (AAPL) Mac OS in tests, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said Tuesday.

During his keynote address at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Otellini said that Nehalem, due next year, will bring major performance improvements. With Otellini looking on, engineer Glenn Hinton demonstrated a system using Nehalem that was running Windows XP. A voice from the computer said, “Hello Paul; I am Nehalem. I am only three weeks old, and I am already talking.”

Otellini then pointed out that the team has already gotten Nehalem to boot OS X.

It seems most likely that Nehalem, a multi-core chip designed for fast performance, would be used in Apple’s top-to-the-line desktop system, the Mac Pro.

The Mac/Nehalem milestone is important because it shows that Intel and Apple continue to have a close relationship as each company charts its future. Previously, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had grown frustrated with the computer maker’s relationship with IBM (IBM) when that company was providing G4 chips for the Mac platform.

Relations with Intel are clearly better. In June, Jobs gave Otellini a custom-made plaque to show Apple’s appreciation for the way the relationship with Intel was progressing.

“Working with Apple has been one of the best things that’s happened in my career,” Otellini said at the time. “I think we have the best still to come.”

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.