What Apple's Next Tech Revolution Might Look Like

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I've long said that Mac OS X and iOS would merge at some point. While I've been wrong so far, I think there's fresh evidence of Apple (NAS: AAPL) working to integrate the two systems beyond the sorts of borrowed features found in Mac OS X Lion. How then? Via chip design -- TechCrunch cites an anonymous friend of Jobs who says Apple has 1,000 engineers working on next-generation processors.

As TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld writes it, Apple leaves behind a team that's 100% focused on winning in the post-PC era. An era in which every electronic device can have a brain, and with a brain become a specialized computer built to accept specialized apps. Thus, creating the brain -- i.e., a low-power, high-function chip architecture -- becomes a priority.

To be fair, there's no rule that says a chip architecture needs just one operating system. Intel (NAS: INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices (NYS: AMD) create designs that work across Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux boxes. ARM Holdings (NAS: ARMH) has long designed chips for both iOS and Android handsets.

But if Apple's vision really is to create an ecosystem of devices connected through one chip architecture, doesn't it follow that having a centralized OS and App Store would also make sense? CEO Tim Cook could then focus significant resources on hardware design, knowing all the while that the essential guts for its devices were 100% compatible.

Think of TVs talking with Macs while also talking with tablets and game consoles. We could call it the living room of the future. Or perhaps "iLife," the home game. Either way, it's a cool concept that puts TechCrunch's report in context.

Do you agree? Disagree? Please weigh in using the comments box below. You can also keep tabs on the comings and goings of the chip industry by adding any of these stocks to your Foolish watchlist:

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakersstock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple and a diagonal call position in Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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