apple core i7.pngSeveral sources are reporting this morning that Apple is in discussions with Intel to acquire the chip manufacturer for upwards of $12 billion. Over the last 22 years Apple has acquired 25 different companies, but this single transaction will likely beat the sum of all the others combined.

This is a rather interesting move after Apple purchased microprocessor design company PA Semi just a few years ago for $278 million, and then went on to design a custom processor for the iPad. With Intel onboard we could begin seeing some serious computing power in the next generation iPhone that is expected to come out this summer… after all Intel did make a custom low-power processor for Apple that was then used in the MacBook Air.

The sources are also saying that Apple has been in talks with Intel since the middle of last year, and coincidentally place the talks around the time the Nehalem architecture processors were announced. There is some thought that Intel named those processors – Core i3, i5, and i7 – inline with Apple’s “i” naming convention as a precursor to the acquisition.

Intel has really been honing in on the mobile market with their Atom processor, which has found its way onto netbooks across the globe. One thing is for sure… ARM could be seeing some stiff competition if Intel processors are used in the iPad, iPhone, and iPods. If you look hard enough you’ll see that almost any mobile phone made in the last 5 years has some form of an ARM processor in it, but with Apple’s mobile-driven ambitions we could see Intel pushing for that praise-worthy crown.

We will be keeping an eye on the news outlets and letting you know as updates become available. Most sources say an official announcement will likely be made by the end of today, April 1st.