Talks between Intel and Apple have been speculated on for many years - probably as much as the recurring Apple/Sony, Apple/Disney merger/buyout scenarios. But with Apple's move into new markets like the iPod, analysts are not so quick to dismiss the rumours this time.

"While nobody can predict what Apple would do, it wouldn't surprise me if discussions are going on between the two companies for something other than computers, Jupiter Analyst, Joe Wilcox, told MacCentral.

Technology Business Research analyst, Tim Deal agrees: "I am skeptical. But if there are [talks], then it is likely for reasons much more innocuous than many are presuming."

Whither WiMax?

It is these new markets that analysts are looking to when talking about an Apple/Intel partnership. After all, Intel does more than just make PC processors, it also makes processors for graphics, networking, wireless, flash memory and others.

"I think it is unlikely that it's for a Mac processor, unless Apple is considering integrating Intel-based processors in its Mac mini line," said Deal. "Is it possible that future iPods will feature PDA functionality?"

Having the Mac OS run on an Intel-based processor would take more time and resources than Apple may be willing to give, not to mention the transition developers would have to make.

If the speculation were true, what would these talks mean for Apple's longtime relationship with IBM, the maker of its new Power PC G5 chip? Not much, according to both analysts.

"Companies often use multiple chip providers for different products," said Wilcox. "Microsoft, for example, supports Intel processors in computers, but turned to IBM processors to power the Xbox."

"I think the core of Apple's Mac line will always be the IBM PowerPC processor," said Deal. "I think there is little threat to this longstanding relationship."