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20090123_snubbed_560x275Updated: More details on the P.A. Semi chips.

We reported last July that Apple would use in-house chips, rather than Intel, to power its tablet computer. We were right.

Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar confirmed to TheStreet.com this morning that based on his conversations with Apple’s design manufacturing partners, Intel didn’t make the cut as a parts supplier for the tablet computer Steve Jobs will almost certainly unwrap at a presentation on January 27th. Like Kate Winslet at the Oscars, they’ve been snubbed.

TheStreet reporter Scott Moritz wrote:

There has been speculation that Intel’s new generation of Atom chips was in the running for the slot, but Apple ultimately chose a processor developed by P A Semi, a chip shop Apple acquired two years ago, according to another analyst familiar with the so-called build plan.

Update: Reader John Bernstein writes,

“Apple bought PA Semi for their engineering staff, NOT for their chips. Apple’s home grown chips are designed by a team composed of primarily ex Pixim, AMD, ATI and PA Semi folks and are Apple designs. The CPU cores are typically ARM based with lots of added on intellectual property.”

If Apple’s tablet is the revolutionary device for everyman that it’s been portrayed as by industry watchers, if it sells 10 million units a year as forecast by analysts, then Apple’s decision cuts Intel out of an important market. The company has locked up the netbook market — in part by defining the devices around Intel Atom processors in the first place — but there’s no doubt that Intel, whose chips power Apple’s desktop and laptop computers, must have lobbied hard to become the supplier for the new product.

With HP and Microsoft reportedly announcing their own tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this evening, during Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s kickoff keynote presentation, there’s still the possibility that Intel chips may power a sizable share of the tablet computer market most pundits seem to agree is about to be born.

[Photo: New York Magazine]

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