Imagination Technologies Stories July 10, 2017

Apple appears to be making an aggressive move to poach more staff from Imagination Technologies, the British chip designer behind the GPUs used in iOS devices. The Telegraph reports that Apple has set up its own GPU design team in offices just a few miles from Imagination’s campus.

The Silicon Valley giant has planted its flag by renting a 22,500 square-foot office in St Albans, a stone’s throw from Imagination’s headquarters. It plans to use the office to develop its own graphics technology as it ditches Imagination, leading to fears that it will poach the British company’s most talented staff …

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Imagination Technologies Stories July 7, 2017

The war of words between Apple and Imagination Technologies seems to be escalating. A few days after Imagination’s annual report accused Apple of making ‘unsubstantiated allegations,’ the Cupertino company has hit back.

Apple says that the chip designer’s response has been ‘inaccurate and misleading,’ and presents a very different timeline of events …

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Imagination Technologies Stories July 4, 2017

The annual report of Imagination Tech – the company whose GPU designs are used under license in the iPhone and iPad – describes statements made by Apple as ‘unsubstantiated’ and ‘highly regrettable.’

The company said that in financial year 2017 it returned the company to profitability and had a clear strategy for growth. That path was derailed by an Apple warning that the company planned to switch to its own GPU designs within two years, and would no longer need to pay license fees to Imagination …

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Imagination Technologies Stories June 22, 2017

Imagination Technologies, the British company that designed the graphics chips used in iOS devices, has put itself up for sale.

Apple currently pays Imagination 30 cents per device in the form of patent royalties on its graphics chip designs, but warned the company back in April that it planned to start using its own chip architecture within the next two years.

The impact of that notification was both immediate and dramatic …

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Imagination Technologies Stories May 10, 2017

Imagination Technologies, the company behind the PowerVR GPU tech seen in Apple’s AX chips, has announced the first chip based off of its new Furian architecture. The PowerVR Series8XT GT8525 introduces significant enhancements in mobile graphic performance. The very type of performance that could find a home in future devices that have a focus on AR/VR requirements…

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Imagination Technologies Stories May 4, 2017

Following yesterday’s news that Qualcomm is seeking an import ban on iPhones as part of its patent royalty dispute with Apple, Imagination Technologies has filed a formal dispute over its own licensing arrangements with the iPhone maker …

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Imagination Technologies Stories April 19, 2017

Following Apple’s announcement that it expected to stop using Imagination Technologies’ GPU designs in iPhones and iPads within two years, UBS has put together a forecast of the financial impact.

UBS predicts that Apple will initially reduce the royalty rate it pays on each iPhone and iPad produced to just ten cents per device before ceasing payments altogether after two years …

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Imagination Technologies Stories April 14, 2017

Update: The WSJ reports that Apple is withholding licensing fees from Qualcomm pending resolution of the legal dispute between the two companies. A source estimates that Apple accounts for around 12% of the company’s total revenue. Qualcomm’s share price is down 19% so far this year.

We saw recently the impact on the share price of Imagination Technologies when Apple announced that it expected to stop using the company’s GPU tech within two years. The stock plummeted by 70%, reducing its market valuation by hundred of millions of dollars.

Not surprising when it turns out that royalty payments from Apple on the company’s chip designs forms almost half of the company’s income – and it is not the only company to be so heavily dependent on Apple’s business …

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Imagination Technologies Stories July 5, 2016

pegatron

Digitimes report claims that Apple suppliers are facing pressure from Apple to reduce costs, with major players like Foxconn and Pegatron affected. Apple is in some cases adding suppliers into the mix to help drive down pricing. It was recently reported that Sharp was gearing up to compete with Samsung and LG for the OLED displays Apple is expected to use for future iPhones.

Currently, Largan is facing strong competition from Japan-based Kantatsu over camera module orders, while Foxconn and Pegatron are seeing Apple adding new ODM partners such as Wistron for the production of its new iPhone.

Taiwan’s printed circuit board (PCB) players are also competing aggressively over Apple’s orders by cutting prices.

A major British supplier has also just posted the largest loss in its history …

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Imagination Technologies Stories March 22, 2016

apple-a9x

Update: In a statement to CNBC, Apple has confirmed it is not planning to make an offer for Imagination Technologies. It did however hold some talks with the company about undisclosed topics.

ArsTechnica is reporting that Apple is in ‘advanced talks’ to acquire Imagination Technologies, makes of the PowerVR mobile GPU designs Apple licenses for its A9 and A9X SoCs. The company declined comment about any such acquisition of course. Apple began using Imagination Technologies GPUs since the Apple A4 chip. Rumors have been bubbling in recent years that Apple will eventually start designing its own mobile GPUs, in the same way it designs custom CPU silicon today. An acquisition of Imagination Technologies would be a clear signal the company is moving in that direction.

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Imagination Technologies Stories September 1, 2012

As part the International keynote presentations at IFA this year, AMD exec and president of the HSA foundation, Phil Rogers, took the stage to give an update on the current state of the not-for-profit alliance. For those of you unfamiliar with the foundation, HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture), is described as “a heterogeneous compute ecosystem, rooted in industry standards, for combining scalar processing on the CPU with parallel processing on the GPU while enabling high bandwidth access to memory and high application performance at low power consumption.”

While the addition of Samsung, among other partners Texas Instruments, ARM, AMD, and Imagination Technologies, was the big news of the day for most, a short demo by partner Apical was what really caught our attention.

Apical’s “Assertive Display” technology is already present in a few devices, such as Sharp’s AQUOS PHONE SH-01D, but during its demo for the HSA keynote, Apical showed off the tech working on an iPad…

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Imagination Technologies Stories January 10, 2012

Imagination Technologies, a British-based maker of a mobile graphics and microprocessor chip technology, announced last June its new mobile graphics architecture code-named Rogue. Today, the company shed more light on the first two PowerVR Series6 designs, the G6400 and G6200. According to a press release issued today, we can expect 20 times the performance of current-generation hardware with five times greater efficiency.

The G6400 and G6200 have two and four compute clusters, respectively, with computing performance “exceeding 100 gigaFLOPS” and “reaching the teraFLOPS range.” Base features supported by all members of the Series6 family include OpenGL ES ‘Halti,’ OpenGL 3.x/4.x, OpenCL 1.x – all of which are supported and widely used by Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. They also support Microsoft’s DirectX10 and some chips are said to be WHQL DirectX11.1-compliant.

Eight chip makers signed up for the new designs so far, including ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Renesas Electronics. Whether Apple is amongst the two unnamed licensees is anyone’s guess, but one could assume that Apple’s custom-built mobile chips would continue using Imagination’s efficient PowerVR architecture.

Other advanced features supported by the Rogue architecture include:

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Imagination Technologies Stories November 22, 2011

PatentlyApple point us to a few recently obtained Apple patents published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Perhaps the most interesting of all is a patent covering 3D object recognition technology that could potentially be implemented in future iPads. While unsophisticated facial recognition tech is already present in consumer mobile devices, Apple’s patent details a method of automated biometric identification to identify or verify an object or face based on a 3D representation compiled by analyzing the curves, points, contours, etc., of a 2D projection. In other words, a three-dimensional “statistical shape model” could be pulled from a 2D image, allowing more accurate detection and verification of 3D objects, such as a face or objects from “airport security X-ray images”, for example. The report explains:

The recovered 3D shape is the most probable shape consistent with the 2D projections, i.e. the images. The statistical model needs a bank of data, denoted training data, where the 3D positions of the image features are known, in order to learn the parameters of the model. Such data sampling could be done using e.g. binocular or multi-view stereo or range scanners. Once the model parameters are learned, the 3D shape can be computed using one or several images. The 3D shape is then used, by means of the presented invention together with the 2D image data, to identify or verify the object as a particular instance of the object class, e.g. the face belonging to a certain individual. A positive (or negative) identification initiate proper action by means of the presented innovation.

It’s unclear when exactly Apple obtained the patent, which lists Professor Kahl Fredrik as the main inventor and dates back to 2005. However, PatentlyApple points out Jan Eric Solem, who owned Polar Rose before they were acquired by Apple in 2010, is also listed as an inventor. Polar Rose technology is currently being used in facial recognition and detection features in the iOS 5 Camera app. The report speculates the next-gen PowerVR GPU from Imagination Technologies will play a role in providing Apple with the juice necessary for advanced 3D rendering, despite the company not yet being confirmed as a licensee: expand full story

Imagination Technologies Stories September 12, 2011

Image courtesy of Anandtech

Anandtech has published some interesting findings based on their extensive Samsung Galaxy S II review. It’s the first smartphone to use the graphics processing unit based on the Mali-400 core from ARM Holdings, a fables chip maker from the UK. In fact, Samsung has engineered and manufactured its own system-on-a-chip solution for the handset.

They call it the Exynos 4210 and it combines a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU core and the aforementioned Mali-400 GPU sporting four cores. The resulting performance, says Anandtech, is comparable to Texas Instruments OMAP 4 chip that incorporates Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU core. However, the quad-core 1.2GHz Exynos 4210 probably won’t hold a candle to iPhone 4S, which will likely carry the same dual-core processor-GPU combo as the iPad 2’s 1GHz A5 chip:

Samsung implemented a 4-core version of the Mali-400 in the 4210 and its resulting performance is staggering as you can see above. Although it’s still not as fast as the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 found in the iPad 2, it’s anywhere from 1.7 – 4x faster than anything that’s shipping in a smartphone today.

Interestingly, and per the GL Benchmark included below, the Exynos 4210 is more than twice as fast compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that runs Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip and nearly four times speedier than iPhone 4’s 800 MHz A4 chip that sports the PowerVT SGX535 GPU core. However, the 4210 falls short in the triangle throughput department, a big disadvantage over the iPad 2’s A5 processor that clocks nine times the graphics performance of the original iPad’s A4 chip.

Triangle throughput is important in graphics-intensive games and will become key in “future games that may scale along that vector rather than simply increasing pixel shader complexity”. The video of Anandtech’s Samsung Galaxy S II review is right after the break.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com.

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