Apple is building the capability to design its own computer chips in a strategic shift aimed at cutting its reliance on outside suppliers, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The newspaper, citing people familar with Apple's plans, said the iconic California company hopes the move will lead to exclusive features for its popular gadgets and shield Apple's work from rivals.
The Journal said Apple has been hiring new employees from the semiconductor industry, including engineers to create multifunction chips that are used in cellphones.
Among the new hires, the newspaper said were two former employees of chip maker Advanced Micro Devices.
It said Apple could use the internally developed chips to reduce the power consumption of its iPhone and iPod touch devices, and possibly add graphics circuitry to play realistic game software and high-definition videos.
The Journal said internally designed chips were not expected to emerge from Apple until next year at the earliest.
The newspaper noted that Apple's strategy runs counter to the trend among most big electronics companies to outsource the development of chips and other components to external suppliers.
Apple last year purchased microchip designer P.A. Semi and the Journal said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs told employees of the Silicon Valley start-up at the time that Apple wanted to develop chips internally.
(c) 2009 AFP
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