Apple plus graphics gurus = semiconductor mystery

There have been persistent rumors over the last few months that Apple is making a move into designing its own semiconductors.

People have wondered how or why that could be but it’s no secret that Apple is quite capable of designing chips that it could then have produced by external foundries.

Compelling evidence emerged at this week’s Intel Developer Forum that there’s certainly no smoke without fire.

Because Apple has recruited not just one chief technology officer formerly with ATI but two. Those two are Bob Drebin, hired away in April and Raju Koduri.

Both have a great deal of experience in the graphics business and some have speculated that Apple is experimenting either with a new processor for the iPhone or more intriguingly the next iPhone CPU – and then there’s the PA Semi team, now absorbed or borged into Apple.

Next week Nvidia holds its own jamboree out in the valley. While its competition have suggested that it’s got nothing much up its sleeves, sources suggest that’s not so, and that AMD-ATI may well have something to fear from Nvidia during 2010.

Nothing suggests that the famously driven CEO of Nvidia, Jen Hsen Huang, is just going to sit back and watch his company falter.