The rumours that Apple wants to buy high-rated UK chip supplier ARM have returned with dramatic effect.

In early trading, ARM saw its shares surged to a record price of £3.62 ($5.30), a 32 percent rise in value, before rapidly falling back to a mid-afternoon price of around £2.95, about 7 percent higher. The last time its shares reached such heights was in 2002.

Where the rumour emerged this time is hard to say, but clearly some brokers took it seriously to hit the ‘buy’ button. Management of both companies have remained silent, which should not be taken as significant.

The notion that Apple might want to bid up to $8 billion for ARM surfaced a month ago, a move dismissed at the time as unlikely to please competition authorities.

It’s would also be an odd move from a financial point of view. ARM makes money by licensing its designs to a range of companies and it’s hard to see how that would fit with the needs of a single vendor, Apple.

Where ARM does stand to gain from Apple is through the use of the company’s chips in the iPad, a product about which there is now such hysteria that almost anything connected to it gains by association.  Equally, ARM’s business model should see its chips turn up in tablet computers launched by volume computer makers.

Apple recently bought the chip designer behind the A4 chip, Intrinsity, which it is believed to be behind the relatively primitive CPU core that runs the iPad.