In a bombshell press release issued Monday, UK chip designer Imagination Technologies said Apple told it that it would end a fruitful deal to use Imagination’s blueprints for customized graphics cores in its own A-series chips powering iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and Apple TV devices.
Apparently, the Cupertino company is now looking to create independent GPU designs that could be ready in about two year’s time. Shares of Imagination immediately plunged over 70 percent to their lowest level since the financial crisis in 2009, wiping over $625 million off the company’s market value.
Combing through multiple LinkedIn profiles, MacRumors has discovered that Imagination Technologies COO John Metcalfe left the company in June along with a bunch of engineers and is now listed as a Senior Director at Apple, where he started in July. Imagination GPUs are found in Apple’s in-house designed mobile chips for iOS devices.
Imagination Technologies, a fabless UK-based semiconductor maker, has been supplying PowerVR-branded mobile graphics IP for Apple’s in-house designed iDevice chips since the iPhone’s inception.
Detailed 3D graphics, speedy animations and smooth performance have always been one of the hallmarks of the iPhone and iPad so it’s no surprise that Apple is an investor in Imagination.
Following Imagination’s announcement of a next-generation PowerVR GX6650 GPU that promises to smoke graphics giant Nvidia’s own Tegra K1 mobile processor, Imagination yesterday said it is taking PowerVR graphics architecture to the next level by adding ray-tracing capabilities.
Apple likely won’t utilize this technique in its upcoming A8 chip for the iPhone 6 and 2014 iPads because Imagination’s technology won’t be making its way into products until 2015.
This means that come 2015, your iPhone and iPad could easily give dedicated game consoles a good run for their money graphics-wise, by supporting high-quality lighting and shadows, accurate transparency and photorealistic reflections…
Apple’s been using GPU parts from Imagination Technologies since switching to its own in-house designed iOS device processors, starting with the iPhone 3Gs in 2009. This UK-based firm does not churn out actual chips. Instead, it licenses out its GPU designs and intellectual property to vendors like Apple, Intel, Qualcomm and many others – that’s why “they” call it a fabless semiconductor maker.
Now, Apple’s engine that powers iOS devices typically combines Imagination’s GPU and ARM’s CPU blueprints with some memory, I/O logic and other supporting functions on a single die, a solution known in the semiconductor industry as a system-on-a-chip (SoC).
Moreover, both Apple and Intel own a stake in Imagination, another indication of its importance to Apple’s mobile future. See, Imagination’s PowerVR graphics processors coupled with Apple’s efficient mobile operating system have been largely responsible for the smooth graphics, transitions and animations seen throughout iOS. It’s the reason iOS is the smoothest mobile OS out there.
At CES earlier this year, Imagination unveiled a new GPU that we suspect should make its way into upcoming iOS devices. Today, the company is detailing some of its more intricate aspects and boy does it make our hearts sing: it supports 4K resolutions and outperforms even Nvidia’s upcoming Tegra K1, apparently enabling the most powerful graphics yet in mobile phones and tablets…
The fabless semiconductor maker, Imagination Technologies, has been providing Apple’s iPad and iPhone with its graphics and video hardware since 2007. On Thursday, the UK-based company announced extending its licensing agreement with Apple, giving the iPhone maker multi-year access to Imagination’s current and future PowerVR-branded graphics and video GPU blueprints.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both Apple and Intel are investors in Imagination, with the former holding a ten percent ownership stake in the company…
Following their initial analysis of the iPhone 5s’s innards, silicon experts at Chipworks have now taken a closer look at the handset’s 64-bit A7 processor to reveal a number of interesting tidbits in their initial low-level chip analysis. Based on transistor-level images of the Apple-designed, Samsung-built package, Chipworks was able to determine that the A7 consists of a dual-core processing core and quad-core graphics, tentatively identified as the four cluster version of Imagination Technologies’s PowerVR Series 6, the G6430.
Apple, along with Intel, is of course an investor with a ten percent stake in Imagination Technologies, the UK-based fabless semiconductor maker. Chipworks also focused on a portion of the A7 chip called Secure Enclave where Apple says fingerprint profile is stored securely and walled off from the entire system, except the Touch ID circuitry…