Apple and Imagination Technologies Bury the Hatchet; Upcoming iPhones May Feature New PowerVR GPUs

Jan 2, 2020
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Apple is most likely getting used to rekindling partnerships with previous companies. First, it was with Qualcomm, with the latest rumor stating that the company will end up using Snapdragon X55 modems in the upcoming iPhone 12 range. Now, it looks like Imagination Technologies will start doing business with Apple once more on a bigger scale, according to the latest agreement.

Apple May Use a Mix of Its In-House and PowerVR GPUs From Imagination Technologies If Performance and Efficiency Are on Par With the Company’s Requirements

According to the details of the agreement published on Imagination Technologies’ website, it looks to be a multi-year agreement between the iPhone giant and the British-based chipmaker. Imagination Technologies was a key player in the smartphone GPU space until Apple decided to shift its in-house GPU operations. The last versions of the iPhone to feature a PowerVR GPU from Imagination Technologies was the iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus.

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With the inception of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X back in 2017, Apple incorporated its own GPU, and the results speak for themselves in the performance department. Fortunately, the technology made by the British chip designer is still used in a few of Apple-branded devices such as some iPad models, the Apple TV 4K, as well as the Apple Watch Series 3, so it’s not like Imagination Technologies was cut off completely, with its silicon being used in a much smaller capacity.

However, a lot of our readers know that Apple’s primary money-maker is still the iPhone and though the company is attempting to cover its losses because of a slower smartphone market growth by introducing services like Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+, the iPhone’s position is not expected to be overtaken for now. No doubt, Imagination Technologies would be seeing the potential of partnering with Apple to create possibly better-performing silicon, meaning that this year, the iPhone 12 family might get treated to PowerVR GPUs.

Sadly, it still isn’t confirmed what kind of technology Apple will take advantage of, as the agreement only states the following:

“London, UK; 2nd January 2020 – Imagination Technologies (“Imagination”) announces that it has replaced the multi-year, multi-use license agreement with Apple, first announced on February 6, 2014, with a new multi-year license agreement under which Apple has access to a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property in exchange for license fees.”

With Qualcomm, Apple pretty much had no choice but to partner with the chipset manufacturer for its high-performing 5G modems because its own in-house modem efforts would take years to complete, according to various reports. Not risking its latest iPhones shipping without 5G connectivity support, especially when the competition was launching its own handsets in droves, this was seen as a necessary move.

With Apple’s in-house GPUs showing small performance increments year after year, we believe the company was sitting comfortably where it was, so it’s not specified what the Cupertino behemoth would want with Imagination Technologies. Looks like we’ll find out more in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more updates.

Source: Imagination Technologies

Products mentioned in this post

iPhone 7
iPhone 7
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iPhone 7 Plus
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iPhone 8
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