Apple has 1,000 engineers working on chips, report says

Steve Jobs purportedly once told a fellow Silicon Valley CEO that 5 percent of Apple's workforce is working to improve the performance of its mobile processors.

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Steve Jobs and A5 chip info
Steve Jobs discusses the A5 chip at the introduction of the iPad 2 in March 2011. CNET

Some 5 percent of Apple's workforce is reportedly working on improving the company's mobile processors.

The company has 1,000 engineers working to refine its processors, Steve Jobs had told a "veteran Silicon Valley CEO," according to TechCrunch report. (The company has about 20,000 non-retail employees.)

Apple's A5 processor, currently found in the iPad 2, will soon appear in the iPhone 4S. Apple

"Getting low power and smaller is the key to everything," the unidentified executive said, adding that "form factor no longer becomes an issue."

Improving battery life without sacrificing speed is key for mobile devices. Apple's A5 processor, which will be used in the new iPhone 4S, made its debut within the iPad 2. The A5 sports two cores while using the same power draw as the chip it replaced. When he introduced the A5 as part of the iPad 2's specifications, Jobs, who died just days ago, noted that the chip boosted graphics performance by a factor of nine.

In the past couple of years Apple has reportedly been increasing its in-house processor focus with the acquisition of two chipmakers. In 2008, Apple acquired low-power chip firm PA Semi to design iPhone chips, though it has never been clear how PA Semi contributed to Apple chip design. PA Semi made its debut a few years back designing low-power chips based on Apple's old friend, the Power architecture.

Apple ramped up its chipmaking muscle again in 2010 with the reported purchase of chipmaker Intrinsity, a small chip company that reportedly worked with Samsung to boost processor performance.