With graphics becoming paramount in today’s technological age, it looks like an Apple-built GPU is on the way. The Cupertino company has apparently cut ties with the company responsible for bringing its current graphics prowess, Imagination Technologies. The move comes as Apple looks to take on rivals who have already made strides in virtual reality and voice assistants.
With the importance of graphics increasing, it makes sense for Apple to bring an ever-important process into its own fold. From virtual reality to machine learning, GPUs are at the forefront of those capabilities. With other companies like Samsung and Google moving their attention into virtual/augmented reality projects, it appears that Apple is finally starting to take the idea seriously.
With its ability to process a large number of calculations in a parallel fashion, GPUs have surpassed CPUs in terms of processing power.
“The GPU is being leaned on more heavily than it ever has before,” says Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy. “With the right algorithm, you can get 10 times the performance per watt [a key measure of computational efficiency] with a GPU on machine learning than you can with a CPU.”
Of course, Apple isn’t in unfamiliar territory when it comes to building processors. The company has been building its own SoC for years and it’s been what powers the iPhone. The company then moved into other areas with the newly debuted W1 chip found in its new Air Pods. So the move into GPUs should come as a surprise to no one.
With an Apple-built GPU, the company can also control more of the experience it delivers to consumers. The trick is to build one without getting sued by competitors and former business partners. In a statement made earlier today, Imagination Technologies had this to say on the matter:
“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.”
However, the company could circumvent that by licensing some of the technology from other companies or even buying up a chipmaker with a diverse GPU patent portfolio. Only time will tell. Either way, Apple has some deep pockets to push itself into the GPU spectrum.
Last Updated on April 4, 2017.