It’s widely known that Apple is rumored to have ambitions of building its own processors for Mac desktops and MacBook laptops, but no one expected the huge undertaking to begin so soon.
The Oregonian reports that Apple has opened a hardware engineering lab in Washington County, Oregon, hiring nearly two-dozen people in a variety of roles, most notably bringing in Intel expatriots. Of course, Intel has been the sole provider of Mac computer processors for more than a decade.
Naturally, Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment, with The Oregonian having obtained this information from “job postings, social media profiles and an individual familiar with Apple’s recruiting efforts.”
Specifically, these LinkedIn job postings call for design verification experts, people skilled in ensuring a final product meets the original expectations.
Has Project Kalamata already begun?
The Oregonian doesn’t know exactly where this new engineering lab is located beyond that it’s near the border between Beaverton and Hillsboro in Washington County. The outlet is keen to point out that this location would put the lab closer to Oregon’s computing hardware hub than the cluster of software and services companies in Portland.
Apple is far from the first technology firm to open offices or even research facilities in the Oregon and Washington area, and this isn’t even Apple’s first in the region. The company operates a data center and a software development team in areas around Portland, Oregon.
But, the location of this particular facility and where Apple seems to be focusing its recruiting efforts (e.g. silicon experts) strongly suggests the company’s goals. You don’t poach frankly expensive hires skilled in chips and semiconductors with no intent to make use of those talents.
Remember, just two months ago, it was reported that Apple had a secret project planned to remove Intel processors from Mac computers, starting in 2020, known as Kalamata. This Oregonian report seems too close to be purely coincidental.