In what shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to Apple these past 10-15 years, the company is developing its own graphics chips. The news was revealed in a quite venomous statement from Imagination Technologies, the company whose chips Apple is using right now.
From the statement:
Apple has used Imagination’s technology and intellectual property for many years. It has formed the basis of Graphics Processor Units (“GPUs”) in Apple’s phones, tablets, iPods, TVs and watches. Apple has asserted that it has been working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on Imagination’s technology.
As a result of the news, Imagination’s shares fell 70 percent, because Apple is by far Imagination’s largest customer, accounting for about half of its revenue. Imagination’s statement then proceeds to almost but not quite (yet) threaten Apple with patent litigation.
Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence has been requested by Imagination but Apple has declined to provide it.
Further, Imagination believes that it would be extremely challenging to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights, accordingly Imagination does not accept Apple’s assertions.
Of note here is that in the past 18 months or so, various high-level Imagination employees joined Apple.