According to an AppleInsider report, Apple may be looking to welcome AMD into the Apple-compatible CPU family. Meetings between AMD personnel and Apple, as well as sightings of AMD employees on Apple buses, all help legitimize reports that AMD has been working with Apple to make a CPU that will work in their machines.
Many are citing Apple's recent quibbles with Intel as the catalyst for this change in direction. While Apple has been using Intel processors since 2006, Intel has limited the availability of new processors to Apple, reportedly slowing down the update cycle of Apple products. Another qualm with Intel is over their recent lawsuit against Nvidia for developing alternative graphics chips that can be used with Intel's "Nehalem" family of processors. In 2004, the two signed a deal that allowed Nvidia to develop an integrated graphics chip on Intel's equipment that featured an integrated memory controller. The Nvidia chip was dubbed the MCP79 platform, and it ended up in the entire line of MacBook laptops. Now that Intel is alleging that Nvidia isn't allowed to make more integrated chips for the Intel Nehalem processors, Apple has good reason to begin looking elsewhere for a CPU manufacturer.
Apple shied away from AMD in the past due to concerns over higher pricing and lower performance compared to the competition at Intel. Now, AMD is more competitive in both price and performance. While they still lag behind Intel in the mobile computing market, their purchase of ATI will be a selling point for Apple, who is looking for more flexible GPU options.
Of course, Apple could just be using the idea of using AMD chips to whip Intel back into shape. The last thing Intel wants is to lose their dominance in the Apple market, and Apple entering into talks with AMD is a message that should be crystal clear, just shy of an email from Steve Jobs himself, most likely saying "Are you nuts?"