Apple news site MacRumors recently reported that Apple ($AAPL) is firing up a new engineering hub in Oregon where it's already poached hardware engineers from chipmaker Intel ($INTC). We've reported on Apple's ambitions to go its own way when it comes to desktop CPUs, at the time not finding convincing evidence that Apple was ready to make a split from Intel, the current designer and manufacturer of chips found in Apple's desktop PCs.

New data indicates that Apple appears to indeed be building up its CPU hardware engineering capabilities rapidly, despite the fact that overall openings at Apple remain somewhat flat for the first time in months.

However, Hardware Engineering openings at Apple continue to swell.

But because we have job listings data over time, meaning we can see shifts in hiring strategy, we were able to validate MacRumor's hunch that Apple is doing something interesting — both in Oregon and in CPU engineering.

When filtering open positions in Oregon alone, we see growth in winter 2017 leading into April, exactly when Apple was likely busy staffing up its new hardware-focused operation there.

Perhaps even more interesting is that when we look at Hardware Engineering jobs at Apple with the words "Validation" or "Verification" in their titles, we see a steady uptick along with a very recent spike in openings.

MacRumors points out that Apple hiring hardware engineering jobs of this type is particularly indicative because it shows that the company is looking for people who can aid in the creation of CPUs that are specifically meant for desktop PCs:

"Digging deeper into these job positions reveals keywords indicating performance validation in non-iOS workloads, as well as a heavy focus on memory concepts such as memory controllers, memory hierarchy, and cache coherency protocols. The focus on the memory subsystem is significant because this is one area where mobile device and PC form factor usage models differ based on their power consumption profiles, along with PCs featuring tools that can stress a memory system in ways not typically seen in mobile device workloads."

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