While Apple has stuck for a while with Intel for the processors powering its Mac desktops and laptops -- though who knows for how much longer -- it has had a habit of flip-flopping on graphics cards that go inside its systems. At the moment, Nvidia is the vendor of choice, but a new job posting suggests that Apple could be ready to switch again.
According to TechEye, Apple is looking for electrical engineers to work for its Mac Desktop Systems Engineering team. In the posting on Apple's job site, key qualifications include not only experience working with Intel chipsets, but also "AMD and/or Nvidia GPUs." This has set off alarms among Mac fanboys, as the brand-new iMac offers either Nvidia GeForce GT 650M or GeForce GTX 680MX graphics inside; the latest Mac Minis use integrated Intel graphics.
While the current Mac Pro lineup uses AMD Radeon graphics cards, there's been speculation that the workstation will be phased out of Apple's future desktop plans. The result is focus on the iMac line -- as well as focus on the relationship between Nvidia and Apple. Nvidia clearly won 2012 by getting its graphics boards in both the iMac and new MacBook laptops, so why Apple's need for an EE who knows AMD graphics processors? Given the new iMac's recent refresh, the timing is also curious.
Does Apple see something in AMD's current or future graphics architecture that it may make a switch with the next iMac update, or is this tied to the long-promised, but still-not-delivered refresh of the Mac Pro? ZDNet's own David Morgenstern recently speculated that Apple's promise to manufacture some systems in the U.S. could mean a Mac Pro production line on American soil; maybe AMD's Radeon 6000 series of graphics card would be inside those new models.
Whether Apple wants engineers with AMD GPU experience because it has plans to abandon Nvidia, or just to help when it's kicking the proverbial tires, there's never a dull moment when it comes to Mac rumors.