An example is the wearable market. Apple will ship the Apple Watch early next year, but it's unclear whether it developed its own chip for the smartwatch. Industry experts said extremely low-power chips are difficult to make, and need to blend with sensors. Apple likely acquired the chip technology from an outside vendor.
Apple is still testing the market with the watch, and won't commit to making a chip until the device ships in the millions, Kanter said, adding that even some chip technology for the first-generation iPhone was borrowed from Samsung.
"That's a sensible approach to take when doing a device when the volume is not clear," Kanter said. "When I look at the Apple watch -- the jury is still out on [wearables]."