Forbes has an upcoming profile of AMD, which claims that the company’s Llano family of Fusion, CPU-GPU combo chips were consider for use in Apple’s 2011 revision of the MacBook Air. These plans fell apart however, as parts were being delivered late, and the chips were experiencing high failure rates. There are even more details regarding the yield rate in a separate Forbes article that can be found here.
This fits in nicely with SemiAccurate’s previous report which claimed that Apple had plans to utilize AMD processors but Apple ultimately stuck with Intel.
All of these chip problems boiled down to a licensing disputes which prevented NVIDA integrated graphics from being used in combination with Intel processors. So, Apple was forced to choose between two less-than-great technical options. They could go with Intel Core 2 Duo longer than everyone else, but have faster NVIDA graphics, or they could go with Core i-series and use slower slower integrated graphics from Intel. They chose to stick with the Core 2 Duo.
Apple did move to Apple’s Core i5 and i7 processors across their notebook lines, wherein they decided Intel’s integrated graphics were good enough to stay with Intel as their processor supplier. It does seem that Apple was weighing their options with AMD processors.
AMD then reportedly offered their Brazos family of Fusion system to be used in the Apple TV, but Apple was uninterested.
This news, to me at least, proves that Apple is more pragmatic than it had been in the past. The company isn’t going to stick with technology that downs’t allow them to do what they want, just for the sake of sticking with a certain manufacturer. Apple can and will drop Intel in a heartbeat if someone (AMD being the only other real option) has a better technology.