RBC: Intel in talks with Apple to build iPhone processors
FORTUNE — Hot on the heels of his colleague Amit Daryanani’s speculation about where Apple might go to supplement — or entirely replace — Samsung as the sole supplier of processors for Apple’s mobile devices, RBC Capital’s Doug Freedman reports Friday that Cupertino is already in talks with one of top contenders: Intel.
Acknowledging that there’s been speculation about this in the past, Freedman moves the ball forward by spelling out the terms of a possible deal:
- Intel (INTC) would agree to use Apple’s preferred architecture for the iPhone — the one from Intel’s British rival, ARM Holdings (ARMH).
- In return, Apple (AAPL) would agree to switch to Intel’s x86 architecture for the iPad.
According to Freedman, Apple’s demand for 12-inch system-on-a-chip wafers in 2013 could approach 415,000 — outstripping Samsung’s ability to supply.
“We believe,” he writes, that “Intel has the upper-hand due to the limitations of capacity at alternative sources” — chiefly TSMC and GlobalFoundries.
He estimates that the revenue for whomever gets Apple’s foundry business will be roughly $2 billion in 2013, assuming 415,000 wafers at $5,000 a pop.