Mac Touch Concept Rendering

Following up on the recent series of domino-like chipset stories, wherein Apple bought PA Semi CPU design firm, licensed ARM CPU architecture and PowerVR GPU architecture, Hired Papermaster from IBM and Drebin and Koduri from AMD/ATI, and have reportedly picked up over 100 chip designers from Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, and other hardware companies.

Steve Jobs previously confirmed that PA Semi would be used to create system-on-chip components for future iPhones and iPods, but questions remain as to what exactly the master plan is behind these moves (unless Jobs just wants the world's best gaming mod in his basement, of course...)

The Wall Street Journal, however, thinks it maybe less about the specifics of the hardware -- though low-power, energy efficiency is still a major goal -- and more about the control of it:

People familiar with the situation say Mr. Jobs told P.A. Semi engineers last April that he wanted to develop chips internally and didn't want knowledge about the technology to leave Apple.

These new chips, containing technology that couldn't be easily be shared with competitors or exposed to the rumor-mill, aren't likely to appear for at least a year still, but shows how Apple's strong position -- including the success of the iPhone -- give them the luxury of expanding in this way, in this market.

Apple is, after all, known for their Kremlin-eque love of secrecy, and recent supplier and manufacturer leaks of new iPod and iPhone components can't have made Cupertino happy.

And of course, it could be the iPhone is still just the tip of the iceberg. When do we get our iPad that wireless connects to big screen TVs to become awesome multi-touch controllers for HD movies and games?