In a rare public apology, Intel issued a statement that retracted comments from some Intel executives about Apple's use of an ARM processor with its iPhone. Earlier this week, some Intel executives dismissed Apple's use of ARM chips with the iPhone, saying the ARM processors hindered the use of the Internet with the Apple iPhone. The news comes as Intel has been pushing its x86 architecture, especially its Atom processor, as an alternative to using ARM processors in smart phones.
In a rare public retraction, Intel apologized after some of the company's
executives appeared to have criticized Apple's
use of an ARM processor with the iPhone
, claiming that ARM
limited the iPhone's ability to access the Web.
The statement, which Intel posted on its Web
site Oct. 23
, offered a direct apology to Apple, saying that executives
should not have commented on another company's products designs. The statement
also acknowledged that Intel's
Atom processor, which the company has been trying to position as a smart phone
, cannot yet match ARM's low-power
"Apple's iPhone offering is an extremely innovative product that enables new
and exciting market opportunities," according to the Intel statement. "The
statements made in Taiwan
were inappropriate, and Intel representatives should not have been commenting
on specific customer designs."
The comments by Intel
were made during a discussion at its Developer Forum in Taiwan,
which started earlier this week. The apology was attributed to Anand
Chandrasekher, general manager and senior vice president of Intel's Ultra
Mobility Group. However, reports from the fall IDF stated that Shane Wall, vice
president of mobility, and Pankaj Kedia, director of ultra-mobility ecosystems
for Intel, made the comments.
The comments from Wall and Kedia focused on Apple's
use of ARM processors with the iPhone. Both
Intel executives said ARM does not offer the
processing power to give iPhone users a rich Internet experience. While the two
men did not criticize Apple directly, they both made the case that Intel,
especially with its Atom processor, offers a better way for users to access the
"If you want to run full Internet, you're going to have to run an
Intel-based architecture," said Wall, according to a transcription of his remarks posted on
the Apple Insider site.
"The shortcomings of the iPhone are not because of Apple," said Kedia,
according to the same transcription. "The shortcomings of the iPhone have come
Intel has had a special relationship with Apple since 2005, when Apple
switched from using the IBM- and
Freescale-manufactured PowerPC processor with its Macs to Intel chips. Earlier
this year, Intel
developed a special, low-volt Core 2 Duo processor
for the MacBook Air.
The relationship between Apple and Intel changed somewhat earlier in
October, when Apple
announced that it will use an Nvidia chip set
, along with Intel processors,
with its new line of MacBooks.
In the meantime, Intel has been looking to use its Atom processor as the
base for the development of a whole new line of devices called MIDs (mobile
Internet devices). The company has also tried to position its Atom chips as
eventual replacements for the ARM processors
used in smart phones, such as the Apple iPhone.
At the IDF show in August, Intel
talked to ISVs about using Intel Architecture to develop applications that can
be used on both PCs and smart phones
without rewriting code so that the
application works with an ARM-based device.
The problem right now is that Intel needs to keep reducing the thermal envelope
of its processors to replace the low-watt ARMs used in smart phones.
Currently, Intel Atom chips run at about 1 or 2 watts; the company plans to
reduce that thermal
envelope further when the "Moorestown" platform for MIDs appears in 2009 or 2010
The ARM processor, by comparison, draws
about 0.45 milliwatts.
An Apple spokesman did not return a request for comment.