Apple has apparently dedicated some serious human resources to the design of so-called chips (system on chips or processors) with Erick Schonfeld from Techcrunch quoting an anonymous Silicon Valley CEO.
The latter (opens in new tab) says that Steve Jobs told him that Apple had 1000 engineers working on chips, or roughly two per cent of Apple's worldwide employees.
To put that figure in perspective, AMD - Intel's rival - employs just over 11,000 people while ARM Holdings, which provides Apple with the IP for its system on chip has around 1700 employees.
Apple has purchased two companies over the past three years, P.A. Semi and Intrnisity, both specialising in exotic power saving techniques in processors and SoCs.
Apple is taking the same route as Qualcomm, another ARM licensee, that has gone one step beyond what other licensees have done by adapting ARM's IP and adding as many USPs as possible.
In Apple's case, power consumption is at the forefront. Apple's two SoC design, the A4 and the A5, haven't been the fastest in their league - at any given point in time - but Apple's software ecosystem has compensated for that and provided it with an edge over its rivals.