Applevine: Will Macbook Exclude Intel Chips?

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Includes: AAPL, INTC
by: Seth Gilbert

During Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) July 2007 earnings call, the company gave guidance that fell short of some expectations. The explanation was a then-unexplained product shift that turned out to be the introduction of new iPods. Flash forward a year to last week, and Apple’s July 2008 earnings call was a deja vu-like repetition: Apple turned in a strong performance but guided  weaker than some expected due to another ambiguous product transition. The mystery is cranking up the Applevine.  The latest round of explanatory rumors is starting to circulate.

One popular theory guesses these changes will apply to the Macbook notebook line. Some are convinced they will include an internal overhaul. Others are expecting a broader change list, including a face-lift that drops the current case in favor of the same aluminum stylings found on the Macbook Pro and Macbook Air.

Apple-watching website Apple Insider Monday added to the fray by issuing a report suggesting some of the changes may include movement away from portions of Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) mobile platform. The report claims the next generation entry level notebook (which is expected in 6 to 8 weeks) will continue to use Intel CPUs but may exclude other Intel platform components. Specifically, the report, which cites “sources familiar,” suggests Apple will bypass Intel’s Montevina (5th Generation Centrino) platform in favor of alternate solutions.  

If the report proves accurate, the configuration could include chips from AMD (NASDAQ:AMD), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) or even components developed in house. Contrary to speculation, however, it’s unlikely Apple’s recently acquired PA Semi assets will be a factor in any new notebooks revealed in August or early September.

At this point, as with much that travels on the Applevine, little factual information is available to substantiate the claims.   

What seems to be known is that Apple has ordered more circuit boards than usual (20% more according to reports issued by Chinese paper The Commercial Times [translated by Digitimes]). The Intel Montevina chipset also experienced some development delays relating to graphics and wireless certification.

Coincidences? Or trail of breadcrumbs to follow? At this point, as with many Applevine rumors - anything is possible.

Apple began working with Intel in 2006. 

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