Apple partner Imagination plans to take on ARM

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Imagination Technologies, the mobile graphics chip company of which Apple is part owner, is set to announce a partnership with fellow chipmaker MIPS Technologies in an effort to counter competitor ARM Holdings,” Katie Marsal reports for AppleInsider.

“According to EETimes, the partnership will be announced this week at the Embedded Systems Conference in Silicon Valley,” Marsal reports. “As first reported by AppleInsider in 2008, Apple purchased a 3 percent stake in Imagination Technologies, and last year the iPhone maker increased its share to 9.5 percent. Imagination Technologies is responsible for the PowerVR graphics technology inside the iPhone and iPod touch.”

Marsal reports, “Apple has been making moves in the chip industry in recent years, with recent evidence indicating that Apple purchased chip designer Intrinsity, which is believed to help build the speedy 1GHz A4 custom processor found inside the iPad. Apple also bought fabless chip designer P.A. Semi for $278 million in 2008.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. Interesting news. Time will tell if Apple will use these processors for future desktops and laptops if/when they start running OS X and OS X apps faster in the lab than the intel ones do. Otherwise, we’ll expect to see more and faster processors built on the current processor model to succeed the A4 in on the mobile platforms (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad).

  2. I read somewhere awhile back that a chunk of every Intel processor is there only to deal with the fact that windows uses instructions of varying lengths. It breaks those down to same sized microcode before feeding that to the logic units.

    I’ve always wondered what would Intel be possible of, if they didn’t have to drag Windows into the future? For that matter, what improvement would Apple likely see if they could run on a similar processor, but without the legacy cruft?

  3. Does a 10% stake in a company really warrant this type of speculation? I think investment and defensive positioning are more likely than these fever dreams of Apple wanting to be a chip fabricator.

  4. Apple could really do something amazing making their own chips on the Mac side of things. As the only company who makes the hardware, os, software and developer kit, they can potentially make a chip that’s extremely optimized for their needs — as in the iPhone/iPad world. No doubt Apple has learned a lot and along the way have realized they could do a better job themselves.

  5. @ Spark

    Fab capacity has become a commodity. Today Apple uses Samsung. Tomorrow, who knows? Although, trust has become an issue – fab companies have been known to steal IP of their customers. As long as Apple buys so much Samsung RAM, Samsung has a powerful disincentive to get sneaky.

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