Apple already uses its own CPU for its iPhones and iPads, allowing its devices to outperform rivals in terms of processing power. Now a surprise press release by Imagination Technologies reveals that Apple is currently working on developing an in-house GPU as well.
Imagination Technologies is the British company behind the PowerVR graphics processors fueling the iPhone and others. However, it can only enjoy this title for up to 15 months to 2 years now. Apple has apparently told the firm that it won’t utilize the brand’s intellectual property in its new products after that time period.
This means that Imagination will no longer be eligible for royalty payments under the present license and royalty agreement. This is a major setback for it since Apple is its largest customer. The latter has been adopting its technology and patents for years, forming the basis of GPUs in many iDevices.
Apple seems to have informed Imagination that it’s been working on a separate graphics design in order to have greater control over its products and reduce its future reliance on the brand. This is where things get tricky, since the UK-based firm says that the company hasn’t provided any evidence for this.
Imagination thinks it would be very challenging for Apple to design a new GPU from basics without infringing on its intellectual property rights. It’s thus not willing to accept the latter’s claims of being able to make one without infringing on its intellectual property, confidential information, and patents.
Apple and Imagination are supposedly now in talks to discuss prospective alternative commercial arrangements. Interestingly enough, the first had previously confirmed that it had considered buying out the second about a year ago. This clearly fell apart, with reports alleging that the company had decided to poach a couple of engineers instead.