Last year, we reported that, for the first time, Apple was opening more "Software and Services" than "Hardware" positions on its recruiting website. That news signaled a watershed moment for the company: with a bevy of content service launches in the past years that included Apple TV+, Apple News+, and a standalone Apple Music product, Apple was looking more like a service company than a hardware company.

But new job-listing trends serve as reminders that Apple is still the company that brought us the iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPod, HomePod, and, last year, AirPod Pro. 

In the last quarter, Apple accelerated job listing activity for Hardware openings, all while keeping Software and Services relatively flat.

In fact, for most of January 2020, Apple had more Hardware openings than Software and Services for the first time in at least a year.

In September 2019, Apple had 1,100 job listings tagged as "Hardware". As of this week, that number has grown to 1,540: a 40% increase in just over three months. During the same period, "Software and Services" openings moved from 1,450 to 1,560 — an increase of just 7.6%.

Since September 16, when the job-listing acceleration began, Apple has listed 1,711 Hardware job openings. So what is Apple up to? A word cloud of all the job listings since that time helps illustrate things.

More recently, job listings with the term "FPGA" have been a priority. FPGA stands for "field-programmable gate array" — an integrated circuit that can be configured to be used in anything from display devices to portable electronics, to servers. "Kernel", "caches", and "antenna" terms also appear to be in demand among Apple's hardware hiring efforts. In September, "RFIC" was a common term, indicating hiring for hardware engineers to work on wireless devices.

Whatever it is that Apple is hiring for, it's clearly busy designing its next generation of devices now that its new services like Apple TV+ are up and running.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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