While it’s increasingly likely the iPhone 7 will be the first of its kind to use an Intel LTE modem, it remains unclear what Apple’s long-term goals might be for this new high-profile partnership. Could the Santa Clara semiconductor giant help manufacture A-series SoCs for subsequent iPhones and iPads?
If so, will Intel bring its GPU expertise to the table in addition to CPU-making know-how? Probably not, since Cupertino is reportedly so happy about its longstanding Imagination Technologies alliance, it’s looking to make a bid to purchase the British-based R&D company currently in charge of PowerVR designs and production.
Imagination recently went through an unexpected management change, as CEO Hossein Yassaie retired from his position after holding it for no less than 18 years. A number of lower-ranking employees are supposed to be laid off this year, the combination of the two moves either anticipating Apple’s buyout proposal or convincing Tim Cook & co. they need to take control before PowerVR chips start losing quality.
With a market capitalization of around $600 million, Imagination Technologies would no doubt be a costly expense for Apple, but likely nowhere near as pricey as Beats, which set Cupertino back a whopping $3 billion in 2014.
Besides, Apple already holds a minority stake in the 1985-founded outfit, and designing SoCs for future iPhones and iPads in-house from the ground up could save a lot of money in the long haul. It would also allow the tech behemoth to better compete against the likes of Qualcomm, which similarly develops its own Adreno GPUs inside Snapdragon processors.