Apple is a prestigious customer for Intel, as the chip maker enjoys being in the spotlight whenever Apple launches a new PC.
However, the relationship between Intel and Apple may not be as loyal as it seems on the outside as there is now a report that suggests that Apple may have considered using AMD processors for its current generation of MacBooks.
According to AMD employees quoted by Forbes, Apple was interested in AMD's Llano APUs, but the production issues at GlobalFoundries apparently killed a possible deal. Apparently, AMD was not able to supply samples of Llano on time. Forbes quotes one employee saying, “We had it. But the yields didn’t come in.”
However, the opinions why AMD lost the opportunity and how close it actually came to striking a deal with Apple are still unclear. AMD declined to comment on the report when we contacted them today.
Unfortunately, these opportunities do not along often. The Forbes article stated that Apple rejected a pitch that it could use Brazos processors for its Apple TV box. The scenario is reminiscent of persistent rumors in the early 2000s that Dell might be considering AMD processors for its computers to create a strategic counterweight in its processor price negotiations with Intel. Dell announced in May 2006 that it would begin offering its PCs with AMD processors, which came at a time when AMD had a technology advantage over Intel and was able to guarantee enough production volume to meet Dell's volume requirements.
Had AMD been able to make that same guarantee with Llano, there is chance that we would be seeing MacBook Airs with AMD processors today, at least if the Forbes report is to be believed.