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Apple buys into PowerVR chip maker

updated 11:10 am EST, Thu December 18, 2008

Apple buys into IMG

Apple has made a heavy investment into another chip manufacturer, according to an announcement. The company has bought 8.2 million shares in the Imagination Technologies Group, giving it a ownership stake of 3.6 percent. IMG is perhaps best known for producing the PowerVR series of chips, used to accelerate graphics in mobile devices; as a result, Apple may now be in a position to use the chips in future iPods and iPhones, or else some unknown device.

Aside from share ownership, this is supported mainly by an IMG announcement from September, in which it revealed that it had signed a multi-year licensing agreement with an "international electronics systems company," generally believed to be Apple for several reasons, such as industry sources and the backwards-compatibility of a current PowerVR chip with code used in the iPhone and iPod touch. The chip is the PowerVR SGX, which is not only faster but supports the OpenGL ES 2.0 standard, and provides a scalable shader engine for more advanced 3D effects.

Several months ago Apple bought chip designers PA Semi, best known for processors based on the PowerPC architecture. Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared that the purchase was intended to aid its iPod and iPhone development, which -- in combination with today's IMG investment -- may suggest that the company intends to bring as much control of chip design for Apple handhelds as it can muster in-house.

by MacNN Staff



  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not (just) iPhone

    There seems to be a chip-based strategy, concentrating around mobile and mid-size devices.

    My guess is that Apple is putting together the resources they need to move into the general areas they expect will dominate the future of electronics.

    My prediction... This could just as easily be for the iPhone 4G, a larger tablet, a netbook, or an entirely new device.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    games, games, games

    Sounds to me like the Touch and iPhone will become the next DS and PSP.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    anyone can copy it

    with standard parts. Just trying making a copy when it uses custom designed chips that never existed before. You can give your product more power, and you can pare out every little transistor to minimize power usage. A guy who designed software/hardware for medical implants was telling me about that ... not to say that there will be an implantable iPod; just an example.

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why buy a dinky 3.6% share? It tips their hand and doesn't give them any kind of control. If they intend to buy more shares later, it will be more expensive since people know of Apple's interest. Just seems odd.

  1. 010111

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "some unknown device"

    Apple Dreamcast II.

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