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Apple and Intel's Collaboration on MacBook Air and Beyond

Fortune reports on Apple and Intel's strengthening relationship over the past few years. Apple switched from PowerPC to the Intel processors three years ago in a somewhat surprise move. Since then, Apple has successfully transitioned to the use of Intel processors in their Macs.

Up until January, Apple had used off-the-shelf Intel parts generally available to other manufacturers. For the MacBook Air, however, Apple approached Intel in early 2007 asking for a small, thin chip for use in an extremely thin computer. Initially, Intel said they were unable to help, but then realized they had an old project that had not been well received by PC manufactuers:

Years earlier, researchers had dreamed up a similar chip in a tiny package, but the idea had been put on the back burner after PC makers gave it a ho-hum reception. The concept just had to be dusted off. We had that small chip package pretty much sitting on the shelf, Rattner recalls. Within a year, Intel had updated it to meet Apples needs and delivered it in volume.

Apple used the chip in the MacBook Air, which was introduced in January of this year. The most interesting comment, however, is that Intel's chief technology officer Justin Rattner says that Intel is working with Apple on more projects that are "equally aggressive".

Related roundup: MacBook Air