Send in the clones. The iPhone clones, that is.

According to trade magazine EE Times, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) last week showed off an iPhone-like device that could be built with a forthcoming chipset called Mooretown. The setting was its Developer Forum in San Francisco.

So Intel, whose chips have thus far been passed over for the iPod and iPhone, is once again Apple's enemy? Cue the flying pigs.

Or maybe there's more at work here than we think. Mooretown, after all, is a pretty robust chipset. All of the elements needed to handle voice, data, and even video have been included.

Communications shouldn't be a problem, either. Intel was an early leader in Wi-Fi and, through a massive investment in Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), is similarly early on the WiMAX bandwagon. (For the uninitiated, WiMAX is like Wi-Fi on steroids; it can be broadcast over several miles.)

As such, I find it likely that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be just as interested in Mooretown as rivals Palm (NASDAQ:PALM), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), and Taiwan's HTC must be.

Intel may even be counting on it. Here's how Anand Chandrasekher, general manager of Intel's ultra mobility group, positioned his company's relationship with Apple to EE Times: "Apple is a great innovator in its own right. Perhaps someday our paths will cross again."

Translation: Sure, we'll compete with Apple if we have to. But we'd much rather be a partner. Smart move.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.