Imagination Technologies slams Apple for ditching its iPhone GPU tech in earnings call



  • Reply 21 of 25
    tangeytangey Posts: 31member
    I like how they say that Apple can't make their own GPU without infringing. Apple makes the best ARM chips out there, you think the people who make the best ARM chips couldn't also recruit the people who make the best mobile GPUs? You think those people aren't chomping at the bit to design something when they know the exact use case for it?
    Your argument argues against yourself. Apple CPU engineers clearly know the exact use case for the CPU, yet they still pay ARM a fee for every single one of those cores, because they could not totally do a successful design without using ARM IP.

    So no matter what the accumulated expertise, it does not follow that you can design in a complete vaccuum, and engineer every aspect of everything in a novel way. I suspect in total Apple is paying many $10s per iphone in royalties and fees for various IP they are using. THey aren't doing it because they could not be bothered to designed that stuff out.

    The issue here with IMG is manyfold:-

    1) There is no potential infringement of IP until Apple sells a physical product with a GPU that they contend does not include any IMG IP. I don't for 1 second expect that to happen in this years iphone. So lets just say it is 2018.

    2) There is a reasonable case to be made that given the extended use and highly embedded nature of IMG's IP into Apple's entire ios soc line since the very first iphone, that there may be some owness on Apple to provide some proof that their products are IMG IP free. Just to mention 1 aspect, PowerVR texture compression, has been the default texture compression used in ios apps since ios began. No one can decompress PowerVr texture compression unless they use IMG IP, it's their patented IP. If you use the algorthim, then you have to pay. If you don't use the algorthim, then ios apps that use PVRTC will not work.  Apple would have to prove they have removed this from all apps that run on these new "non-IMG" GPUs. Perhaps they have some process that changes the likely 100Ks+ apps that use PVRTC and replaces those textures with a different texture compression. They can't do it inside the phone, as that would be infringing, the apps on the app store themselves would have to be changed. They also need to keep both type of apps on the app store. It is of course possible that as part of IOS11, they will demand that new apps no longer use PVRTC, not dis-similar to the demand that all apps are 32-bit. But as it stands, it is hard to see how they resolve this issue.

    3) IMG does not have the finanacial strength to contest something of this size. So take the lack of royalities that IMG is not getting whilst in dispute, add in the cost of a legal case, and IMG will be dead long before Apple has even taken a second glance at the situation. And Apple knows that. Thus the case for Apple abusing their power is not without merit.

    4) It will be interesting if say someone with bigger pockets such as Samsung buys them (samsung has always wanted their own GPU division).

    edited July 2017 Soli
  • Reply 22 of 25
    jameskatt2jameskatt2 Posts: 720member
    wizard69 said:
    However you are wrong about Apple having to prove anything.  They will have to demonstrate that none of Imaginations tech is in the new GPU.   That might be easy or it might be hard depending upons Apples approach.  

    Apple doesn't have to prove anything to Imagination.

    ARM does GPUs. 
    Apple can easily create their own custom ARM GPU since they own the license to use it. 

    Too bad Imagination didn't allow themselves to be bought by Apple.  Apple already owned 9 percent of it.

  • Reply 23 of 25
    tangeytangey Posts: 31member
    There's a reason why Apple has shipped several billion ARM CPUs, and not a single ARM GPU.
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 24 of 25
    jensonbjensonb Posts: 532member
    The posturing from Imagination’s CEO reminds me of that interview with the guy from Atari about the Jaguar who confidently & belligerently insisted it would be illegal for Sony to launch the PlayStation at $299 in the US (because it would constitute “dumping”, was his line) and that if Sony did so Atari would pursue it legally & win, crippling SCEA & it’s PlayStation. Sony, of ccourse, did launch the PlayStation at $299. And Atari? Did nothing about it, because it was BS, before the Jaguar crashed & burned exactly as badly as everyone else assumed it would.

    So it goes without saying I am pretty sceptical about Imagination’s posturing here.
  • Reply 25 of 25
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,268member
    williamh said:
    Apple’s products are usually sold for more than 2 years. To stop using the Imagination technology, they’ll have to replace the whole mobile product line starting very soon. 

    Imagination is way out of line. Apple doesn’t need to prove anything, they do. 
    Apple announced they would stop using their new designs in 2 years.

    Thinking out loud here... If the A11 is all Apple designed, which I believe it is, then the X and 8 will be the first phones for which they won't need to pay Imagination. The SE will likely be replaced next Spring and I bet it has a variant of the A11. The 6S models will go away by next year (probably sooner). That leaves the 7/7+ as the only iPhones with their tech, so their payments will dwindle and by 2019, they'll be done.

    As for iPads, next year's Pro models will use an A11X. The non-pro replacements may receive the variant mentioned above in the SE. Worst case, they pay for the low-end iPads through 2018. By end of 2019, they should be done with Imagination for good.
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