This will put pressure on Apple's product development and upgrade cycles, plus the Asian engineers are being hired to work closely with Apple's supply chain there, ensuring rapid sourcing, production and assembly of components for the upcoming assorted gadgetry. The hiring spree commenced in the second half of last year, and now Apple has more than 600 engineers and operational personnel working in Asia. It allegedly approached HTC engineers individually, on its way to create "an engineering team in Taipei to drive new iPhone product development," as per a leaked recruiting email.
The blitz is also due to Apple's increasing focus on China, which is the fastest-growing smartphone and tablet market, and the recent China Mobile deal puts additional pressure on delivery. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is hiring not only engineers, who will work with component makers on new touchscreen and camera technologies, but also supply chain managers, as well as software QA specialists. Cupertino logged in quite the increase in the total number of employees last year - 80,300 - up from 72,800 in September 2012. That number seems poised to grow further this year, and it will be interesting to see whether Apple's strategy will indeed shift, in terms of product launch cycles.
source: WSJ (subscription req'd)