Imagination Technologies today announced that six key partners will be using their next-generation PowerVR Series 6 GPU code-named Rogue. However, the company named only three partners, saying the remaining three PowerVR Series6 licensees “are yet to be announced”. The three known ones are ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments and MediaTek.

Apple is currently a licensee of Imagination’s graphics unit incorporated in the Apple-branded mobile chip alongside ARM’s Cortex-based CPU unit. Apple’s A5 chip uses Imagination’s PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU unit which delivers a ninefold performance increase compared to the A4 chip. The previous A4 chip inside iPhone 4 and iPad 1 is based around the single-core PowerVR SGX 535 GPU, which also powers the iPhone 3GS. It’s quite possible that Apple is one of the mysterious three licensees of the Rogue chip.

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Imagination would only say that the Rogue GPU delivers “unrivalled GFLOPS per mm2 and per mW for all APIs”. We also know it’s backwards-compatible with the PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU used in iPad 2. Additionally, MacRumors points to a ST-Ericsson press release claiming that the Rogue GPU incorporated in ST-Ericsson’s upcoming Nova A9600 system-on-a-chip will be capable of rendering over 350 million real polygons per second. Apple holds a 9.5 percent stake in Imagination Technologies as of 2009. The gadget maker had originally secured a 3.6 percent stake in Imagination in December of 2008. Intel countered Apple’s move 48 hours later, buying a 3.04 percent stake in Imagination.

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