Intel Designing Power Mac Motherboards?

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Apple has enlisted Intelis help with creating motherboards for the next generation of Power Mac computers, according to a report at AppleInsider. The article cites "reliable sources" who said that Intelis Oregon facilities have formed an Apple Group to take on the chore because Appleis internal resources have been taxed by the task of getting iMacs, 15-inch PowerBooks, 13-inch widescreen iBooks and Mac minis ready for Intel processors.

According to AppleInsideris sources, those four computers will debut during the first four months of 2006 while the first Intel-based Power Macs will ship during the third quarter of that year. The article also speculated that the new Power Macs will use Intelis upcoming Conroe processor, which apparently uses a different architecture than Pentium 4 processors.

Apple will continue to design the exterior of its new computers, however, sources told the Web site.

Gartner Research analyst Mark Margevicius told the Web site that Appleis decision to enlist Intelis help will yield the same manufacturing cost benefits seen by Windows PC makers.

"While I have no insight how much this will save Apple, letis not also forget that Intel also offers marketing dollars (several hundred million, if Iim not mistaken) to [computer manufacturers] who display the iIntel Inside,i iPentium,i and iCentrinoi logos on their hardware," Mr. Margevicius said. "I would expect Apple to do the same."

However, an analyst who wished to remain anonymous said that the move could make it harder for Apple to maintain the secrecy that it has always held over product development. "Itill be interesting how Apple retains its proprietary architecture -- which I assume will be more than software," the analyst commented. He also speculated that Apple and Intel may work together to create a custom chip set that will ship only in Macintosh computers.

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