Apple Inc. is dedicating major resources to the design of its chips, and that's a sign of where the company's future product designs are headed, TechCrunch says.

Jobs told an unnamed fellow Silicon Valley executive before his death that Apple had 1,000 engineers working on the chip project, striving to make them smaller, faster, and ever more efficient in their use of power. TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld notes that 1,000 engineers would represent "5 percent of Apple's non-retail workforce."

The yield from these investments is starting to show. The new iPhone 4S has a processor twice as fast as its predecessor, but so much more efficient that battery life in the phone is said to go up, by one hour of talking time. Meanwhile, the company is shifting toward smaller and lighter technologies, replacing conventional hard drives with flash storage, and shrinking hardware so that it is "becoming practical to put a computer into anything."

That means the major decisions facing Apple, post-Jobs, will be how to deploy the technology it's developing now. What would you put a computer into? What won't Apple try?