Four years ago, Apple set out on a dangerous path. It spent about $300 million on a struggling chip designer called PA Semi. The purchase signaled that Apple intended to design its own chips for devices like the iPhone.
That’s a dangerous move because custom chip designs require a ton of money and time and come with a high chance of failure. It usually takes about four years and a huge team of engineers to move from an initial design to an end product. Any hiccups along the way translate into smartphones and tablets that either underperform or are late to market. In short, a chip gone wrong can turn a winner into a loser real quick.