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Apr 04, 2017 10:53 AM EDT

Apple Wants To Replicate Its CPU Success With Its Own GPU; Smarter Siri Expected [VIDEO]

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Apple is following its CPU roadmap by developing its own GPU possibly to address its specific needs on efficiency, that is, improving power but reducing energy consumption. This could mean customized and more powerful graphics chips to power the screens of Apple products and propel machine learning to make Siri smarter by 2019 or earlier.

The new development regarding Apple's GPU plans was revealed yesterday in a press release by Imagination Technologies, which has been Apple's GPU partner since the first iPhone. Apple is apparently dropping Imaginations' IP designs in the coming 15 to 24 months. This means that 2 years from now or less, Apple Products will sport its in-house GPUs.

Apple's Ax CPU series have powered the iPhones and has since delivered year-on-year performance improvements by as much as 25 percent. There is no denying that Apple is good at what they do that its SoCs now branched out to the Apple Watch, AirPods, and the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar. For many observers, Apple's move to develop its own GPUs is inevitable.

Apple knows that GPUs are the key to the future for it does not only bring the Retina screen, eye-popping visuals, and gaming horsepower, but it could also boost machine learning. Given the right algorithm, a GPU on machine learning can achieve ten times more performance per watt, the Wired reported. Machine learning is crucial in developing a much smarter Siri, which still lags behind Google and Amazon Alexa.

An Apple GPU will also be able to support augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR), which fall in line with Tim Cook's earlier pronouncements. Cook has been a huge advocate of AR and believes that AR-powered devices may soon replace the iPhone. However, making an inroad in the GPU will not be easy with patent infringements setting up the first roadblock.

Imagination is already discussing with investors about licensing rights, knowing that Apple will not build its GPU from the ground up. In this case, Imagination's concerns are justified for Apple may use some of its technologies, Anandtech reported.

Imagination is currently discussing with Apple regarding royalty payments or else face potential patent infringement charges. In order to avoid litigation, Apple may well dig into its pockets to buy a patent-loaded chipmaker or tap into its pool of engineering talents to come up with a better GPU solution.

Observers say that Apple GPU roadmap may not be easy like its CPU because there is no single issue that surrounds GPU at present. On the CPU side, Apple was looking for an Intel Core-like CPU in a mobile SoC, which ARM was not able to deliver. Nonetheless, Apple's new and bold move could mean more freedom to customize its graphics cards and bring new innovations that Apple has been known for in the past but lacking as of present.

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