PortalPlayer keeping Nvidia's spot in Apple's bed

An analyst for Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. (FBR) quoted on EE Times claims Apple picked PortalPlayer to provide graphics processor chips for its rumored iPhone device. PortalPlayer, which has supplied logic for most iPod models up to the previous generation, is also rumored to have scored a spot in Apple's next-generation video iPod. Previous reports say Apple already ordered 12 million iPhones from Foxconn earlier this month, and some sources suggest the next-gen iPod is coming as early as next month, so these purported deals with PortalPlayer might have been penned a while ago. Still, these hookups could put Nvidia in an interesting position, since the graphics company recently signed up to acquire PortalPlayer for $357 million.

If the FBR analyst is to be believed, Nvidia may even enter an "enhanced partnership" with Apple in the future. FBR claims Nvidia will craft a chip that integrates application processor, audio decoder, and video decoder for a next-gen iPod scheduled for 2008. While the design win is supposedly uncertain, FBR says Apple agreed to work with Nvidia on the design. The prospect is also said to have played a part in Nvidia's decision to purchase PortalPlayer.

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