Apple, possibly tired of having to give away precious details on its forthcoming iPhone and iPods to companies that seem to just leak out the info willy-nilly, has begun hiring staff to design its own chips.

The news, from the Wall Street Journal, says that Apple is hiring big names from the semiconductor industry to design the chips that will enable not only faster iPhones and their ilk, but also reduce the power consumption too.

The company has recently hired former CTOs of AMD, Raja Koduri and Bob Drebin, although they haven't given any confirmation on what their job roles will be. Apple has also been posting for positions where the job role includes: "testing the functional correctness of Apple developed silicon."

Not the first time

Apple has previously purchased Silicon Valley start-up PA Semi, although the rationale for the acquisition at the time was it wanted the knowledge of integrating higher power chips into its devices, although a lot of that expertise would be transferred to a new semiconductor division.

The idea that Apple will have its own line of semiconductor chips to power the iPhone is an interesting one with a fair few ramifications: the first being it's possibly (hopefully) the amount of forthcoming iPhone rumours will decrease as there are less avenues for leaking.

Also, the processing speed of the iPhone, already tipped to be much faster than previous models, could be upgraded as one of fastest portable devices around. Add to that the possibility of a lucrative licensing model should it come up with something good, and Apple could very well be on to another winner.

Graham Barlow, Editor of MacFormat, agrees that this is likely to be another positive (and money spinning) move for Apple:

"Apple seems to be on a recruitment drive and that's exactly what Steve Jobs said Apple would do to ride out the recession – invest more in R&D so that once the economy recovers it will be well placed ahead of the competition.

"Advanced 'Apple-only' hardware in devices like future iPhones could see the company pull further away from the competition in terms of what mobile devices are capable of delivering."

Via Wall Street Journal