MacRumors reports that Apple has hired at least 12 former graphics engineers for its "Orlando GPU team", indicating that Apple is accelerating research and development of custom SoCs and GPU cores.
AMD laid off a number of employees last year as part of a corporate reorganization, and then fired more in January. According to a large number of LinkedIn profiles, the majority of Apple's hires for an Orlando team occurred in January, and includes a graphics architect, a hardware engineer and others. These former AMD workers likely came from the chip maker's Orlando office.
MacRumors also discovered that Apple has posted new job listings for Site Managers to head GPU teams in both Cupertino and Orlando. These are in addition to job listings posted in April for chip engineers to be working in Apple's Orlando Design Center.
"Manager will be responsible for leading the Orlando GPU team to deliver high quality IP to specification and on schedule," reads the Site Manager job summary. Qualifications include 10+ years proven experience leading high performance GFX (or equivalent complexity) IP development teams, and 5+ years proven experience building/hiring medium/large (30+) complex ASIC IP development teams.
Apple, which is a licensee for ARM and Imagination Technology, has been designing its own SoCs since 2010 with the launch of the A4 chip inside the original iPad (first-gen). The company introduced its first in-house CPU core last year with the A6 chip which is used in the iPhone 5. This latest development points to Apple actually developing its own GPU core as well.