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Apple Could Move 'Intel Outside'

ARM recently announced 64-bit chips, the Cortex-A53 and -A57, which could provide the catalyst for Apple designing its own chips for its Mac line. BNP Paribas analyst Jerome Ramel said he believes the 64-bit chips will allow ARM to address the server and computer markets, which demand higher performance chip sets.

"The 64-bit processors were the missing products for ARM to be credible in the PC/Servers space," Ramel wrote in his note. "Now ARM has all the tools to address the PC/Servers markets and needs the software tool ecosystem to be developed." He rated ARM neutral with a 670 pence price target.

Piper Jaffray's Richard noted that Apple represents roughly $3 billion, or 5% of Intel's revenue, so this would be a significant chunk of lost revenue should Apple decide to move to its own chips.

As part of Scott Forstall leaving Apple, Bob Mansfield is leading a new group at Apple, known as Technologies. Technologies combines all of Apple's wireless teams. Technologies also includes Apple's semiconductors group, which according to the press release announcing the transition has"ambitious plans for the future."

These "ambitious plans" are already manifesting themselves in Apple's fourth-generation iPad. Perhaps the most important announcement at Apple's iPad Mini event was the introduction of the A6X chip in the fourth-gen iPad, which doubles the speed of the previous iPad.

Apple iPad Mini Event: Blog Recap

The significant jump in speed and processing power from the third-generation iPad to the fourth-generation demonstrates Apple has serious plans for its semiconductor group, especially now that Mansfield is leading the way.

Apple dropping Intel as a supplier wouldn't be a death-knell for the Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker, but it would signify that Intel needs to seriously step up its game in mobile chips.

Instead of "Intel Inside" being its slogan, it may be "Intel Outside" before too long.

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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