Is This Apple Exec Working on an iWatch Chip?

MicrochipIs Bob Mansfield’s new role an indication that the Cupertino-based company is accelerating its wearable tech product development? Mansfield has been Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Senior Vice President of Technologies since last fall when the division was created. The new division was formed from teams working on semiconductor development and wireless technologies.

However, according to a new report from Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac, Mansfield has left his executive role for a new role in “special projects.” According to this report, Mansfield will focus on chips in his new role, which may include work on Apple’s rumored iWatch project.

Anonymous insider sources previously cited by 9to5Mac suggested that Mansfield was already leading a wearable tech project in his role as Senior Vice President of Technologies. Now it appears that Mansfield is increasing his concentration on chip development by delegating his executive duties to Dan Riccio and Jeff Williams.

Besides working on chips for Apple’s rumored wearable tech device, there is also the possibility that Mansfield is working on research that will eventually move Apple away from its reliance on Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) as a chip provider for its Macs. When Mansfield was originally appointed head of the Technologies division, a memo from Tim Cook hinted that, “our semiconductor teams…have some very ambitious plans.”

Apple switched to using Intel processors from PowerPC in 2006. Since then, rumors have occasionally circulated that suggest Apple may transition from Intel chips to ARM processors for its Mac computers. However, if the latest rumors are true, Mansfield’s new focus on chip development may be a sign that Apple is finally abandoning Intel.

Here’s how Apple shares are trading Monday:

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