According to the new employees' LinkedIn profiles, as reported by MacRumors, a number of the 12 known engineers were actually hired in January, some two months before a handful of Orlando-based job listings were posted to Apple's website.
Among those hired were a graphics architect and a hardware engineer, hinting at Apple's ongoing custom in-house mobile chip design, though the new employees' exact duties remain unclear.
It appears Apple still has positions to fill in Florida, as the company's corporate hiring site today posted a listing for a "Site Manager," who will be leading the Orlando GPU team. While the position looks to be mostly managerial, it does require applicants to have over ten years of experience in leading "high performance GFX (or equivalent complexity) IP development teams."
In addition, Apple is also looking for identical candidates in its home base of Cupertino, suggesting the company is ramping up research and development of its custom-designed mobile chips.
The company has been designing its own custom mobile processors since 2010, when the A4 chip debuted with the first-generation iPad. Taking a step further into chip creation, Apple last year unveiled its first in-house designed CPU core with the A6 SoC found in the iPhone 5.