Apple working on its own graphics chips for future iPhones, cuts ties with Imagination Technologies


Shares in British chip designer Imagination Technologies plummeted by nearly 70%, after Apple said that it would stop licensing the company's technology. The news broke out today, following a statement from the UK-based firm which reads that Cupertino will be “reducing its future reliance on Imagination’s technology" as it is “working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products”.

The latest developments are an absolute disaster for Imagination Technologies, as about 50% of the company's revenues come from Apple. Cupertino has been a key investor in the firm since 2008 and is also one of its largest shareholders, owning an 8.2% stake. The tech giant was even really close to buying Imagination a year ago, but ultimately opted against the move.

According to the statement, Tim Cook & Co. will stop using Imagination's products in 15 to 24 months time, which means that we might see an iPhone with an entirely Apple-designed chipset as early as 2018. However, the British GPU maker is skeptical that Cupertino can actually produce a graphics chip without infringing any of its patents or intellectual property:


This indicates that we're likely too see a huge patent dispute between the two companies in the future, provided that Apple isn't working on an entirely new graphics architecture. Regardless, the blow to Imagination Technologies looks almost terminal – the firm was worth about $956 million before the plunge, while its current valuation is less than $312.45 million.

source: Imagination Technologies via MacRumors

FEATURED VIDEO

87 Comments

75. ShadowHammer

Posts: 213; Member since: Mar 13, 2015

This reminds me of the old phrase, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Although, in this case you could say Imagination has placed most of their apples in the Apple basket. Time to diversify Imagination.

79. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 657; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Apple has been enjoying low hanging fruit for the last decade. I think next year will see the first time they really have to climb the tree in order to keep eating (iPhone 8 will be their last easy meal). Apple being somewhat of an overly fat kid will find itself and staring up that tree at the last of the fruit, yet they will soon find out its a lot harder to hold on when you are overweight and must keep reaching higher just to keep yourself from falling. Old farmer Google will soon come along with the salt shot and tell the fat kid to get off his property before he puts it in the one that stinks, not the one that winks. I predict Apple's stock tanks under $100 in the next 5 years, how about them Apples?

65. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Hmmm, I wonder if it makes sense for Samsung or Qualcomm to grab them.... Probably not since ARMs reference designs are fine for Exynos and Qualcomm makes their own Andreno. Maybe Google if they are serious about going totally in house with the pixel phones and setting up their own manufacturing facilities? Otherwise they sound toast unless they go back into graphics cards. Which is a shame since they did good work on the Sega Dreamcast and the iPhones.

62. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 657; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

I don't like this move. Though I don't prefer the iPhone, I have been a fan of Imagination's Power VR GPU's since the Dreamcast was launched in 1998. Apple has shown over the years a certain disdain for their partners and clients alike that I find to be reprehensible, especially considering that Apple wouldn't have seen the the millennium had it not been for the gratuitous fortune another had shown them on the verge of bankruptcy. I wish Imagination Technologies greener pastures, and Apple admonishment well deserved.

64. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"I wish Imagination Technologies greener pastures, and Apple admonishment well deserved." What a wish!

70. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 657; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Beats wishing they'd bring back my headphone jack... >:)

61. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Samsung should buy IT and go back to the VR chipset. They did use it in the S4. I am curious as to why Samsung stopped using the chips after the S4? Maybe because the company who makes them only want to service apple? Or Apple paid them to be almost exclusive or at leats not sell to Samsung? The Exynos paired with IT chipset would give it much better GPU performance, at a dramatically cost to battery-life.

35. Trex95

Posts: 2400; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

That's interesting.

28. ebilcake

Posts: 1234; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Lets wait and see what Apple come up with, hopefully it won't pay off for them.

29. mikehunta727 unregistered

It will pay off for them big time

44. ebilcake

Posts: 1234; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Based on what? your love for Apple?

33. kiko007

Posts: 7525; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Lets wait and see what Apple come up with, hopefully it won't pay off for them." Hate to break it to you, but like everything else they make themselves, it will...

45. ebilcake

Posts: 1234; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Your loyalty is disturbing as always, we will see. :-)

47. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I'll just leave this right here...http://tinyurl.com/ksy6c57

50. mikehunta727 unregistered

better vertical integration on their line, reduced costs to R&D since more things moving in house, better optimization of their products through this effort, etc. This is obvious to anyone who knows a bit about this industry. Apple's SoC design team is massive and they have been working on this for years already, GPU in A9/A10 already use custom shader cores, still Imagination Tech GPU but parts of it are directly customized by Apple's Soc team. They are transitioning to full fledged customized GPU's in about 2 years. Really it's a win/win situation for Apple here Has really nothing to do with one's "love" for Apple

60. mikehunta727 unregistered

Like vincelongman said, Apple is gonna have to license IP from either Nvidia or AMD for their custom GPU'S, and my money is on AMD because they already have a fairly somewhat close relationship with Apple already, AMD helps out with graphics development on OSX , etc. Nvidia will charge much higher $ margins too compared to AMD, etc.

51. kiko007

Posts: 7525; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Your loyalty is disturbing as always, we will see. :-)" And your general lack of intellect is as apparent as ever. Apple has been implementing custom GPUs in their latest models for years now. Add to that the fact that they have about twenty or so ex AMD, Nvidia, and Imagination employees currently on staff, and you've got yourself a precedent. If it's anything like what they've done with their CPU game, it'll destroy anything available in the mobile market.

54. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Good luck. what would put you apple lover in your place is if qualcomm would start using nvidia gpu thats would really be nice to see.

59. mikehunta727 unregistered

Qualcomm would never throw away their massive GPU block like that so I highly doubt that'll ever happen Intel is rumored to included intergrated AMD GPU'S on some of their Intel Cpu's in the near future through licensing deal with AMD

26. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

goodbye imagination... maybe huawei, xiaomi, mediatek, or samsung could save you from freefall...

22. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

doesn't this mean that it can license their tech to other companies now unless am missing something that wouldn't it be obvious that solely depending on one company could be fatal I mean look at Qualcomm that don't depend mainly on Samsung so when Sammy dropped them in 2015 it obviously had a negative effect but not a drastic one

43. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"I mean look at Qualcomm that don't depend mainly on Samsung so when Sammy dropped them in 2015" Well, to be fair, it was Qualcomm's fault that Samsung dropped them in 2015, due to the first batch of the Snapdragon 810 being an overheating mess.

12. UglyFrank

Posts: 2200; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

You can't enter the GPU industry at that level without the patents, Nvidia with shut that down

15. vincelongman

Posts: 5838; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

My guess is Apple with sign a deal with AMD That's probably why they went with AMD eventhrough Nvidia offers far better perf/watt

21. mikehunta727 unregistered

Perf/watt of AMD will be very similar to Nvidia now after Vega since it'll include very crucial perf/watt features that was first introduced in Kepler then more refined in Maxwell that gave it such a leap in perf/watt(tile based rasterization, etc)

53. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

mike amd always a few years back. Sure they got something thats was introduced in kepler in 2012 but nvidia come out with new advancement every years and they keep on having the best performance. Amd(ati) only are good if you want to spend less and get similar but lower quality result.

55. mikehunta727 unregistered

Yes I agree Nvidia has been ahead of the curb for a while now but that's the main reason for Nvidia's lead in perf/watt, what I mentioned in my post, now that Vega will include these features, Nvidia no longer will have it's massive perf/watt lead anymore, its much smaller nowadays. Polaris RX 480 GPU not far off from 1060 in perf/watt. AMD'S older GPU'S (7000 series to 300 series) has actually aged better then Nvidia's counterparts and outperforms most of Kepler GPU's relative to their generation Vega will put it nearly on par with Nvidia in perf/watt, Vega GPU coming out soon will surpass the GTX 1080 and even possibly match the 1080 TI for cheaper. Some very good times ahead for AMD, they are back, and their support from developers is gaining huge ground, the days of Gameworks gimping AMD cards purposefully are limited AMD mid range GPU's are directly on par with Nvidia's midrange and actually will surpass it soon when Vulkan/DX12 really start taking off. Vega will compete with high end Nvidia cards and Navi in 2018 and beyond will compete with Volta and beyond

57. mikehunta727 unregistered

AMD is not years behind anymore, they have caught up big time and Vega/Navi will bring the heat to Nvidia big time in the high end market. Prototype/early form Vega running games like Doom and Battlefront at 4K/60 FPS on ultra settings and that was on early drivers that were still using Fiji drivers and not fully fleshed out Vega drivers Xbox Scorpio is going to use baby Vega and some underclocked Ryzen cores, which will be huge. Will be considerably more powerful then the PS4 Pro

38. Techist

Posts: 311; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

My guess is that Apple will swallow Imagination whole, now that they have succeeded in driving their stock price down.

10. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Apple really stepped it up in regards to their chipsets in their last couple phones. I'm interested to see what they'll accomplish with even more control over their hardware this time around.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless