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1000 Apple Engineers Working On Chips

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.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.