Semiconductor analyst Linley Gwennap has posted an interesting overview (via CNET) of the series of events that led to Apple's A6 system-on-a-chip, the company's first entirely custom ARM chip design. The report notes that Apple has likely spent in excess of $500 million on the project when including the purchase prices of chip firms P.A. Semi and Intrinsity.
At this point, Apple has spent about $400 million to buy PA Semi and Intrinsity, tens of millions for a license to design its own ARM CPUs, and probably north of $100 million to support its CPU design efforts over the past four years. It appears that the end result will be that Apple ships a Cortex-A15-class CPU about three months before arch-enemy Samsung does. These three months happen to come during the big holiday buying season, during which the iPhone 5 could generate $25 billion in revenue. So that half billion dollars could be money well spent.
Pretty interesting stuff...