AMD Slide Suggests Apple Will Embrace Fusion APUs

A slide from an AMD presentation during the company’s annual Analyst Day suggests rather strongly that Apple will be embracing the company’s Fusion APU platform in upcoming iMacs and Mac Pro models. AMD has since said that neither company has made an announcement, but if the slides are based on a behind-the-scenes agreement, rather than wishful thinking, it would mark a big win for AMD and a significant shift away from Intel for Apple.

Fusion is a next generation processing platform that combines a CPU and GPU on one die. In particular, Fusion supports OpenCL, a 3D rendering technology Apple initially developed (it was turned over to the Khronos Group and is now an open standard). Fusion’s graphics performance is reportedly impressive, and its small footprint and low power requirements could be attractive to Apple.

The fuss over Fusion came about during AMD’s Analyst Day, when a presentation by AMD Senior VP and Chief Sales Officer Emilio Ghilardi included a presentation with a series of slides showing what appears to be partner companies that have come on board for Fusion. According to a post from Fudzilla, which first reported the event, Mr. Ghilardi didn’t talk during the slides, and told his audience he was simply going to, “flash through them very quickly.”

Lo and behold, but there’s the Apple logo!

AMD Slide

And look, there it is again!

AMD Slide

We should note, however, that Apple hasn’t announced such a plan, and we all know how Apple likes to control its product messages, which may be why AMD was quick to tell Fudzilla (after its article went out) that, “Neither Apple nor AMD have made any announcements regarding Fusion in any future Apple product.”

Or it could be that AMD included Apple only as a broader partner, and not necessarily a Fusion partner. The two companies do work together in making Mac-compatible Radeon video cards. In fact, readers with long memories will remember that AMD bought ATI to get its GPU business and technologies under AMD’s control, and that it was ATI that got itself fired as an Apple supplier (for a short time) after spilling the beans on a new line of Power Macs that Apple hadn’t announced yet.

If Apple were to use Fusion in its desktop line (as the slide suggests), or in its portable line (where the above considerations may be even more attractive), it would mean turning away from Intel, a company that has worked very, very closely with Apple since the company moved its Mac line away from PowerPC.

Since that time, Intel has allowed Apple to be the first to introduce several Intel processors and other products. Apple moving to AMD could play a role in that relationship.