Apple isn't saying what it has planned for its upcoming iPhone 8, but one of the company's suppliers could be tipping some features.
Imagination Technologies, a UK-based company Apple has relied on for its iPhone graphics architecture, has announced new chip technology that should deliver not just a huge boost in graphics power but exciting new augmented reality talents.
An update to the company's PowerVR Furian architecture, the new processor boasts 35 percent more GFLOPS density and 80 percent greater filtrate density compared to last-generation architecture. It also comes with nearly double the gaming density of its predecessor.
Ultimately, those improvements should translate to dramatically improved performance for gaming and other graphics-heavy applications, Imagination Technologies says. The company also claims that the graphics performance should improve general user interface performance, as well as the speed and reliability of standard applications.
But there's more to the latest Imagination Technologies platform than meets the eye. The enhanced performance also translates to the possibility of delivering solid performance in virtual reality and augmented reality applications.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made clear over the last year that the company is thinking seriously about the ways it can integrate augmented reality into its devices. Apple is said to be considering augmented reality applications for its next iPhone and could even try to bundle the technology with car technology it's rumored to be working on.
While Apple hasn't said exactly what its plans are, Cook has said that augmented reality could be a "core technology" in future iPhones. And KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said recently that Apple's next high-end iPhone, the iPhone 8, could offer a 3D front-facing camera that would be used in different augmented-reality applications in the flagship handset.
But in order for any of that to happen, Apple's iPhone 8 will need a higher-end graphics chip that can handle the resource requirements of augmented reality applications. And by the look of it, the Imagination Technologies PowerVR Furian update might be just what it needs.
Of course, Imagination Technologies can't say whether it's working for Apple, and the iPhone maker won't confirm it's using Imagination Technologies' latest offering. But considering Apple has used its chip architecture in the past and most recently in the iPhone 7, it seems likely.
Imagination Technologies plans to announce the first devices using its chip architecture in the middle of the year.
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Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.