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The 2018 iPhone will likely feature Apple’s first homegrown GPU

This week has already brought the news that Apple will no longer licence graphics processors from British chip maker Imagination Technologies, causing the latter’s stock to plummet.

And while that’s undoubtedly bad news for Imagination Technologies (Apple provides around half of its revenue), things could be about to get interesting when it comes to future iPhones.

In a statement, the British firm said Apple is “working on a separate, independent graphics design”, which we could see arrive in the 2018 iPhone.

Related: iPhone 8

An in-house graphics chip would mean we’ll see iPhones and iPads with seriously improved gaming power in the future, as Apple has already had success with its own A-series CPUs.

Making its own GPUs will allow the company to have much more control over graphical power, and considering Apple has long been rumoured to be working on augmented reality for its iPhone handsets, it could mean we’ll see some sort of AR tech on next year’s phone.

According to its statement, Imagination’s tech will no longer be used in iPhone and iPad devices that launch 15 months to two years from now.

But before all that happens, it seems Apple has some potential road blocks to navigate, if Imagine Technologies’ statement is anything to go by.

The company claims in its statement that Apple will run the risk of infringing on several of its patents by developing its own GPU, writing:

“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.”

However, Imagination does claim it is discussing “potential alternative commercial arrangements” with Apple, so there’s every chance the two firms will come to some sort of agreement before next year.

Either way, things could be about to get very exciting for the future of gaming and augmented reality on the iPhone.

Let us know what you make of the latest developments in the comments.

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