Apple is said to be scooping up hundreds of engineers and supply-chain managers as it prepares to create and release products more quickly and more frequently. The Wall Street Journal reported the hiring, which it says is focused in China and Taiwan and has drawn engineers away from various tech firms including rival HTC — an obvious target for talent, as it's located in one of Taiwan's largest cities. Apple reportedly reached out to individual engineers at these other companies specifically. While it's not clear how many Apple has hired, it could create yet another hurdle for HTC in particular, as the company has seen a financial downturn while struggling against larger smartphone makers.

Hiring may also focus on monitoring factory conditions

The Journal reports that Apple needs the additional engineers to facilitate work on iPhone and iPad parts with its suppliers in the region; the supply-chain managers may be part of an effort to better monitor factory conditions following loud concerns and criticism last year.

Quicker product launches would be a stark change for Apple, which has for years kept the majority of its products on a yearlong refresh cycle. Apple has strayed from that on occasion lately, releasing two new iPhones last year and releasing two iPads the year prior. While the Journal says that Apple is hoping to release products more often, it doesn't say whether the focus will be on shortening the time between product update, releasing more new products, or both. For now, it may be a matter of expediting updates and expansions for existing product lines: previous reports have suggested that Apple is planning two iPhones with larger displays for this year, and Apple may simply need more talent if it wants to have both of those ready for the fall.