Apple to Design In-House GPUs for iPhones and iPads

Apple is famous for having a “walled garden” like ecosystem. From in-house designs for the iPhones and iPads to the iTunes App Store being the only source of downloading apps for iOS. The company is trying its hand at another venture, adding one more important component to its walled garden, GPUs.

For a long while Apple relied on Imagination Technologies for designing its GPUs. This will be the first time that the company will be designing its own graphics solution for portable devices.

Switched to Intel in 2006

The move could take place as soon as next year. The Cupertino-based company already makes the A-series CPUs it uses in its portables. Macs are an exception to that case, obviously, having switched over to Intel’s processors back in 2006.

The phones have, since the beginning used Imagination’s PowerVR series for fulfilling graphics requirements, starting from the iPhone 2G.

With all said and done, the shift will be completed in under two years. Apple had previously considered acquiring Imagination Tech, and does own 8% of it. Ultimately it decided to take a different route altogether and get production done in-house.

Bad News for Imagination Technologies

This is bad news for Imagination Tech. Half of their revenue comes from their licensing deals from Apple. The company’s shares have plummeted by more than two-thirds since Apple’s announcement.

Whatever the case, we might hear more of this story as time progresses. That’s because Imagination reckons it’ll be hard for Apple to design a new graphics chip from scratch without infringing upon its intellectual property, not surprising since its designs have been used for more than 10 years now.

It could just as easily conclude amicably, with “potential alternative commercial agreements” still being discussed. Only time will tell how Apple’s new venture goes.

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