Apple hires key Imagination Technologies GPU experts in a poaching spree

Apple hires key Imagination Technologies GPU experts in a poaching spree
Reportedly, as many as 25 employees and executives from Britain's Imagination Technologies have switched jobs to Apple recently. Imagination is the company supplying the iPhone maker with its PowerVR graphics cores since 2007, when the original model debuted. The poaching of Imagination employees has sparked rumors that Apple is working internally on a GPU design of its own to incorporate in future iOS devices.

Among the Imagination employees currently at Apple are the former's ex-chief operating officer, senior design manager, VP of hardware engineering, and senior software engineering manager. They have received engineering and executive positions at the Cupertino company. Obviously, there's not much left from Imagination now, with such key talent having departed in pursuit of opportunities at Apple.

Imagination itself is in trouble, having had substantial layoffs earlier this year. Reportedly, it was in talks to get acquired by Apple, but a deal never materialized. Perhaps attracting the company's top talent is the next best thing for the gang at Cupertino.

source: Apple Insider

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24 Comments

1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Well the Apple designed GPU in the iPad pro is a beast so I guess this is a good thing, if it means the next iPhone will have a custom GPU, actually rumor has it that the iPhone 7's GPU is somewhat of a custom build.

3. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 673; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

A custom GPU is maybe something for iPhone 8 indeed. I skipped a phone upgrade this year because I bet on a redesigned iPhone 8 next year. Still rocking my iPhone 6.

4. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

You made a good decision mate, I have the 6s plus and If I don't switch back to android next year I to will be getting the redesigned iPhone 8 plus.

6. cncrim

Posts: 1586; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Thing take years to be ready.

12. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Its possibly they've already spent years working on their own GPU arch, which could make it into the 2017 iPhone But yea, we won't see the fruits of this hiring spree until probably 2018-2019

22. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yeah i'm aware that the guys they recently got will be working on something entirely new that won't be ready for a while but i'm sure the guys they poached years back have already been working on something that could be ready for next year.

19. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

As if they haven't already started working on it or did you think that the guys they poached from imagination a while back were just sitting on their ass this whole time?

7. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1318; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Next year's iPhone should be the 7s right? So don't count on a redesigned iPhone for next year.

20. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Next year is the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone and Apple is expected to unveil a redesigned iPhone and call it the iPhone 8 skipping the 7s altogether. There was an article awhile back where someone that works at Apple said that new technologies they have been working on will be ready next year and present in the all new iPhone.

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Apple didn't fully designed GPU in the iPad pro Imagination design the GPU arch Apple work was similar to Huawei's or MediaTeks's work, using ARM's CPU/GPU arch in their SoCs

21. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

It's a collaborated design then, because imagination has nothing like it in their line up.

23. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, same for Huawei's or MediaTeks's SoCs e.g. Huawei's "A53e" cores MediaTeks's Coherent System Interconnect and their tri-cluster designs Thats why not all OEMs make SoCs Even using ARM's stock CPUs and GPUs, there's tons of collaborated design going on

2. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

It Is Just Good Business. Who Cares?

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I'm sort of excited and sad at the same time Excited as: This means in 2-3 years Apple will have their own custom GPUs Apple will be making both their CPUs and GPUs, will allow Apple to make everything work closer togther and even more optimized Sad as: Imagination is in MAJOR trouble, they've been bleeding money and now top talent too They've fallen behind Qualcomm this year With ARM's new GPU arch coming next year, its quite possibly ARM will leap frog them too I'm not writing them off just yet, but its a huge uphill battle for them

5. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Wow, Apple already have the best smartphone GPUs, then this?

10. Harambe unregistered

Apple had the best GPUs till last year. This year the powerVR GPU in the iPhone 7 falls short of the 6 month old Snapdragon 820.

11. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Does it really matter though? Apple's CPU blows the 820 out of the water, and the GPU doesn't have to be as powerful due to seamless optimization. We're not playing desktop games on our phones....

14. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The same can be said for CPUs Real life performance is hugely dependent on software optimisation Apple's big lead in single core performance isn't really noticeable in real life usage

24. Harambe unregistered

GPU is used for way more tasks than gaming. It's a parallel computer. It can be used for rendering animations, gaussian blur effects and so much more. All the deep learning that Apple and Google plan to employ to their OSes will need to be accelerated using GPU to enable real time results. If you think GPU is useless, you need to wake up from your pipe dream.

15. crzykiller

Posts: 86; Member since: Jan 03, 2015

Dude you're wrong... The Adreno 530 is far behind the powerVR GPU in the iPhone 7 where the hell did you get your stats? I own a OnePlus 3 and I know for a fact that it is not true. Look up the anandtech review of the iPhone 7 and you'll realize. The S820 is actually a pretty s**tty SOC compared to the A10, Exynos 8890

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Ummm...http://www.anandtech.com/show/10685/the-iphone-7-and-iphone-7-plus-review/5 The 7 Plus dropped from 42 fps to 20 fps The OP3 dropped from 31.5 fps to 30 fps Imagination has fallen behind Qualcomm in terms of GPUs Apple had to majorly overclock their GPU to beat the 820's Hence the major thottling The 820 is a very good SoC Its CPU is the only thing holding it back from being an amazing SoC

18. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Wow, I never expected the A10's GPU to throttle so much, Steve Jobs would be mad.

8. KingSam

Posts: 1425; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I doubt iphone 8 though. More like iphone 10. Apple always acquire companies a few years before incorporating them in their products.

9. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

They have acquired 5 silicon design firms in the last decade. I imagine these folks were brought in to finish Apple's first fully custom GPU.

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