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Your Daily IPhone Rumor: Intel Confirms Atom For 3G IPhone


Munich (Germany) - Today’s iPhone rumor comes from Intel’s 40th birthday bash in Germany, which was held yesterday night. The German ZDnet guys reported that Intel Germany boss Hannes Schwaderer confirmed that the Apple’s iPhone will be available with Intel’s Atom chip. There is a lot of interest in Apple’s new iPhone these days, so it is no surprise that the news spread like wildfire. Intel soon denied the report as false, but the author stands by his story. In the end, Intel’s claims do not "entirely" contradict what we have heard before from the company - that Intel is aiming for the iPhone in the future.

There is quite a bit of speculation and very little actual information about upcoming iPhones on the Internet at this time. I can just imagine how much fun Apple’s PR department has these days and the fact that they are simply sitting still, while the web is going nuts over potential product launches. With all that information, which admittedly can create a ton of traffic for a website, it is pretty much certain that details get confused and published earlier than they should.

The latest iPhone news from ZDnet could be such a case and I invite you to share your thoughts on this. Apparently, the word "iPhone" was dropped in Schwaderer’s presentation and, according to the publication, the executive said that there will be "an" iPhone with Atom chip. However, that iPhone will be a bit larger than the current version, which he claimed was due to a larger display and not due to the size of the Atom chip.

Based on what we heard from the Atom developer team in Austin, Texas, this statement makes no sense at all. They told us a few weeks ago that Atom and especially its chipset are simple too large and too power hungry to fit in the current or the next iPhone, which we all expect to launch by the end of June. Following the publication of today’s iPhone article, Intel denied that Schwaderer referred to the iPhone in his speech, but to MIDs in general. A PR representative for Intel also said that Schwaderer could not have poossibly known about an Atom-iPhone, given the fact that Apple isn’t talking about the future of the device. That explanation does sound a bit cheesy: Intel does not know about an Intel Atom-iPhone that is expected to be released within a few weeks? We buy a lot, but we don’t buy this one.

TG Daily had a chance to catch up with the author of the story, ZDNet Germany editor-in-chief Kai Schmerer. Despite the fact that other journalists who attended the event said they did not hear Schwaderer refer to the iPhone, Schmerer said he did explicitly and noted that his colleagues from PC Games confirmed his claim. What makes Schmerer’s story a bit delicate is the fact that he quoted Schwaderer saying "an iPhone" and not a specific model as well as Schwaderer telling the party crowd that the Atom-iPhone would be larger due to the display and not due to the CPU. Schmerer told us that he had no idea why no one else heard these words from Schwaderer, but noted that the claims came during the executive’s closing remarks in the late evening of the day.

According to Schmerer, Schwaderer was referring not to "an iPhone", but to the iPhone 1.x and the iPhone 2.x during his speech. Looking at what we know today, an Atom iPhone for generation 1 and generation 2 is physically impossible and if Schwaderer in fact dropped these claims, he most likely was wrong. However, if he really meant to say "an iPhone", he could have been right. We know that Intel will be updating Atom with the Moorestown chip, which integrates graphics, in 2010 - very likely in a 32 nm package. Intel confirmed to us before that Moorestown will be small and power-efficient enough to be aiming for smartphones. Plus, the Inquirer posted an Intel presentation that connected Moorestown to the iPhone. So, perhaps Schwaderer was really referring to hopes that a future Atom CXPU could be part of the iPhone 3 or 4.

Current Intel presentations covering the Atom processor do not show the iPhone anymore and if you ask executives about the fact why the iPhone image has been removed and whether the iPhone will be a future Intel customer, you won’t get a clear answer, but you will receive a smile in return.

We may be a bit picky with this story. But the tension surrounding the iPhone is simply fascinating.