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Original iPhones Nearly Came with Intel Inside

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The first Apple iPhone very nearly came with an Intel processor, the company's outgoing CEO has revealed in an interview.

Paul Otellini, who is retiring as the head of Intel has revealed that the company turned down Apple's request for a special processor, as they felt it didn't make economic sense for the company.

"At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn't see it. It wasn't one of these things you can make up on volume." he told Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic. "In hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought." he added.

Certainly at the time, no one really knew what the iPhone would be like as a product. In a market dominated by low-cost handsets where customers were supremely cost sensitive to special offers, a top-end handset was never really expected to be anything more than a neiche product. After all, all other attempts to develop top-end products hadn't dented the market for the cheaper phones.

"We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we'd done it," Otellini noted in the interview.

Intel is still seen as playing a catch-up game in the mobile semiconductor market, which is dominated by designs from the UK based ARM Holdings.

The first iPhone launched with a Samsung chipset based on an ARM design. Samsung has remained the primary supplier ever since.

On the web: The Atlantic

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Tags: apple iphone  intel