According to a report on Apple Insider, a Web site that often publishes details of upcoming Apple products, Intel is currently developing the motherboard for the next Power Mac. Until now, Apple has developed its motherboards inhouse.
This follows the surprise announcement earlier this summer that Apple is dropping IBM’s PowerPC processors in favour of Intel chips.
Apple is expected to launch its first Intel-powered products in January 2006 at MacWorld, and Apple Insider claims that outsourcing the Power Mac motherboard to Intel will help Apple’s engineers to develop Intel-based iMacs, iBooks and Mac minis.
An Intel spokesperson declined to comment on Apple's products, while Apple had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.
Mark Margevicius, a Gartner analyst, told Apple Insider that handing motherboard design to Intel would help Apple to cut the cost of manufacturing Macs, which could mean lower retail prices.
The move to Intel chips has sparked speculation that Apple’s future products could lose some of their unique character, although Apple has said that it will give its customers access to the “strongest processor roadmap” available for the next few years. The deal means Apple can use Intel’s Yonah chip, which will deliver a large performance boost when it launches at the start of 2006.
Other reports have claimed that two Far East manufacturers, Quanta and Asustek, have won contracts to manufacture Apple’s Intel-based products.
Web site EMSNow reported on Tuesday that Quanta will make PowerBooks that use Intel chips, while Asustek will manufacture iBooks.