Skip iPhone 8? This Could Be Worth the Wait

Future iPhones and iPads will have a key new feature. But it won't come with the iPhone 8.

Photo: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

Photo: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

Imagination Technologies Group, the company that has supplied GPUs for iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs and Apple Watches, announced that Apple will no longer be using the chipmaker's services within the next two years. Why? According to the same press release, Apple wants to get into the graphics game itself.

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As The Verge points out, this means that the A-series chip that powers every iPhone or iPad could include both an Apple-designed CPU and GPU in the future. Apple's custom processor is typically one of the fastest chips out there, and now that Apple is free to make its own GPU, it could mean extra-beefy graphics performance in iPhones and iPads releasing in 2018 or later.

A custom Apple graphics chip could also be used to power augmented reality, a technology that Apple's Tim Cook considers a high priority.

But Apple's newfound freedom could come with a caveat. In its press release, Imagination seems unconvinced that Apple can make its own graphics technology without infringing on the chipmaker's patents. This means that the next wave of Apple devices may need take a substantially different approach to graphics in order to stay out of legal trouble. On the bright side, this could simply force Apple to innovate more.

How big a change is this? Reuters is reporting that Imagination Technologies' shares have plunged 70 percent after Apple gave the firm the cold shoulder.

Whatever changes are coming to Apple's graphics chips, we likely won't see them on this year's iPhone 8. Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone is rumored to sport an all-glass design, a powerful new A11 chip, an OLED screen and deep AR integration, along with wireless charging.