The processor used in the Apple MacBook Air notebook is currently exclusive to Apple but Intel will soon start shipping it to at least two other PC makers:
Intel (NSDQ: INTC) has reportedly sold a version of the miniaturized Core 2 Duo processor in Apple's recently released MacBook Air to other manufactures, which could then build Windows-based competitors to the ultrathin and light notebook.
Two PC manufacturers have already signed on to use the custom-designed chip, and products powered by the processor are expected to be released soon, CNET and tech magazine PC Advisor reported Wednesday, both quoting a source familiar with the plans.
An Intel spokesman declined to give any sales details but did note that Apple is the only hardware manufacturer that sells a laptop based on this specific Core 2 Duo processor.
"If other OEMs are interested in this 65-nanometer Core 2 Duo processor, we are welcome to talk with them," an Intel spokesman told InformationWeek.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the Air this month at the Macworld conference in San Francisco. The thinness of the notebook was achieved in part by a miniaturized 65-nanometer Core 2 Duo processor that came from Intel's older Merom line. The processor is 60% smaller than the typical Merom chip and uses less power while delivering comparable speeds. The processor, however, is significantly slower than the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors used in other new notebooks. Performance is not necessarily an issue with Apple as it customizes its operating system to maximize performance out of any processor it uses.