Apple is developing its own graphics chips for future iPhones

Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch;

Apple is one of only a handful of phone makers to develop its own mobile processors, but now it appears that the U.S. firm will go one step further and design the graphics component itself, too.

Apple is tight-lipped about the technology that powers its products, but long-time partner Imagination Technologies has revealed that Apple has told it that it will cease to use its intellectual property for GPU chips within 15-24 months. That’s apparently because it wants to use its own home-spun alternative.

For a company who wants to control every aspect of their most popular product, its just a matter of time before they decide to develop their own GPU. Apple already develops its own CPU, OS and full control of the App ecosystem, controlling both the CPU and GPU will be a big advantage for Apple, specially with the reports that the iPhone company is developing its own AR/VR/MR technology.

Here’s the full text of Imagination Technologies press release;

Discussions with Apple regarding license agreement

Imagination Technologies Group plc (LSE: IMG, “Imagination”, “the Group”) a leading multimedia, processor and communications technology company, has been notified by Apple Inc. (“Apple”), its largest customer, that Apple is of a view that it will no longer use the Group’s intellectual property in its new products in 15 months to two years time, and as such will not be eligible for royalty payments under the current license and royalty agreement.

Apple has used Imagination’s technology and intellectual property for many years. It has formed the basis of Graphics Processor Units (“GPUs”) in Apple’s phones, tablets, iPods, TVs and watches. Apple has asserted that it has been working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on Imagination’s technology.

Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence has been requested by Imagination but Apple has declined to provide it.

Further, Imagination believes that it would be extremely challenging to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights, accordingly Imagination does not accept Apple’s assertions.

Apple’s notification has led Imagination to discuss with Apple potential alternative commercial arrangements for the current license and royalty agreement.

Imagination has reserved all its rights in respect of Apple’s unauthorised use of Imagination’s confidential information and Imagination’s intellectual property rights.

A further announcement will be made in due course.

This announcement contains inside information.