Apple chips,
so crisp and sweet!
Fun to dip
and fun to eat!
-- "Stop the National Poetry Month madness!" I hear you cry. Relax -- you get a 335-day break after today.

The Wall Street Journal says that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is getting into microchip design. I can see it now: the Apple Core Duo for high-end gadgets, the iPentium for cheaper options, and they'll be the first processors ever to win design awards on the runways of Paris and New York. Mmmm, delicious apple chips!

OK, those were the jokes, people. Tip your wait staff -- I'll be here all week!

But the WSJ does mean serious business. Apple is hiring chip designers from major players like Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Samsung, and QUALCOMM (NASDAQ:QCOM). The company also acquired a little chip design firm named P.A. Semi about a year ago to signal the start of its chip-making plans.

Two high-level AMD officials from its graphics arm have joined Apple in recent months. Take that graphics expertise, P.A. Semi's low-power focus, and Apple's penchant for mobile gadgets, and it looks like Steve Jobs is thinking of cutting Samsung out of future iPod and iPhone generations. The Korean giant provides the heart and soul of those gizmos today.

Custom-built chips make lots of sense because more specialized units will always do more work for less battery power than less-customized ones. Apple certainly has the cash to put together a highly qualified team. Manufacturing is easily handled by outsourcing foundries like United Microelectronics (NYSE:UMC) -- they already handle similar designs by QUALCOMM, Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN), and others.

So no, Apple isn't kicking Intel to the curb for its Macs, nor should you expect a "Made in Cupertino" sticker on your next PC's processor. But Samsung may lose some big orders while iPods and iPhones get faster, fancier, and more frugal of power use than before. That should keep Apple's mastodon market shares in those sectors safe, and perhaps growing, for another few years.

Further Foolishness:

Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. The Fool owns shares and covered calls of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.