Apple pushing Intel in new directions

Working with Apple has pushed Intel to change its product roadmap for future processors, a top executive said.

One year after Apple Computer announced plans to use Intel processors in its computers, Apple is pushing the world's largest chip maker into new directions, a top executive said Monday.

"They push us to think about things that we may not always think about," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing group.

"We were hoping for that to happen and that certainly happened," he said.

Apple's view of how the computer market will evolve has influenced Intel's product roadmap, Chandrasekher said. That impact will be felt over the long term, rather than showing up soon, he said.

Chandrasekher declined to give specific examples of how Apple had influenced the roadmap.

One area of importance to Apple is heat dissipation. Intel's ability to deliver mobile chips that consume less power while offering better performance was one of the reasons that convinced Apple to make the switch from IBM's rival PowerPC chips.

Prior to that decision, IBM and Freescale Semiconductor, which also supplied PowerPC chips to Apple, had been unable to produce more powerful mobile processors that met the computer maker's heat requirements. As a result, Apple could not refresh its product line with faster and more powerful notebook PC models, creating an opportunity for Intel.

Apple's demand for processors that produce less heat has been felt at Intel. "You can anticipate that they probably pushed us on packaging and thermals and things like that," Chandrasekher said.

On Tuesday, Intel will announce several additions to its processor line that promise better performance and lower power consumption.

Computex runs through June 10.

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