Riddle me this: Why would Apple be interested in AMD chips?

There's a rumor circulating that AMD executives are in talks with Apple executives, fueling speculation that the Cupertino giant might be looking to end its exclusive relationship with Intel.

There's a rumor circulating that AMD executives are in talks with Apple executives, fueling speculation that the Cupertino giant might be looking to end its exclusive relationship with Intel.

AppleInsider has the details:

Representatives for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD have recently been seen on Apple's Commuter Coach buses, and executives for the chipmaker have been spotted on their way out of meetings with members of Apple's top brass, according to people familiar with the matter.

The meetings have reportedly included briefings by AMD that have since enabled Apple to begin working with AMD processors in its labs as part of an initiative to position the chips inside some of the company's forthcoming products. While AMD offers a variety of embedded processors, Apple is believed to be investigating the chipmaker's workstation and notebook class CPUs.

Question is, why would Apple be interested in AMD chips? More rumors point to Intel having trouble keeping up with demand, but these are nothing more than rumors. Maybe AMD could low-ball Intel on some parts, maybe making triple-core Phenoms available at a price that beats Intel's dual-core offerings. I know that Apple sources components from multiple sources, but personally, I'm having a hard time seeing Apple split its lines into two - one for AMD-based systems, one for Intel-based systems. This sets up the possibility that one line would be seen as inferior to the other. Also, with Apple enjoying a gross margin close to 42%, the company really doesn't need to cut costs.

My take on this rumor is that it's based on little more than AMD showing off new stuff to Apple - something that happens all the time in "OEM land."