On Apple’s efforts to design their own chips

Thu, Apr 30, 2009


The Wall Street Journal published an in-depth article today which takes a look at Apple’s recent hiring spree of graphics experts.

Apple Inc. is building a significant capability to design its own computer chips, a strategy shift that the company hopes will create exclusive features for its gadgets and shield Apple’s work from rivals.

The Silicon Valley trend-setter has been hiring people from many different segments of the semiconductor industry, including engineers to create multifunction chips that are used in cellphones to run software and carry out other chores.

Apple could use the internally developed chips to sharply reduce the power consumption of its hit iPhone and iPod touch devices, and possibly add graphics circuitry to help its hardware play realistic game software and high-definition videos, people familiar with its plans say…

Besides a desire to beat rivals to market with new features, Apple’s shift is also an effort to share fewer details about its technology plans with external chip suppliers, say people familiar with the moves…

People familiar with Apple’s thinking say executives have expressed concern that some information shared with outside vendors could find its way into chips sold to Apple competitors. A Samsung spokeswoman declined comment.

People familiar with the situation say Mr. Jobs told P.A. Semi engineers last April that he wanted to develop chips internally and didn’t want knowledge about the technology to leave Apple. Mr. Jobs is on medical leave and was unavailable for comment.

People familiar with Apple’s plans expect former P.A. Semi engineers to help create ARM-based chips that could improve the performance and battery life of future iPhones.

You can check out the article in its entirety over here.


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