This week's agreement with Freescale could be taken as a sign that the transition to Intel chips may take longer than expected, or simply that Apple wants PowerPC processors available as insurance against the possibility that the transition doesn't go as smoothly as hoped.

Apple's June announcement that it would transition to Intel microprocessors proclaimed a split between the company and IBM, which has been a longtime supplier of PowerPC microprocessors to Apple, along with Freescale (previously Motorola Semiconductor). IBM has reportedly experienced an assortment of delays and supply problems for the PowerPC to Apple.

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