Apple started developing graphics processors for iPhones and iPads in-house a few years ago, which came as a blow to Imagination Technologies, the company that had been designing the PowerVR GPUs Apple had been using up until then.
Imagination’s stock price plummeted, the company put itself up for sale, wound up splitting itself into two companies, and sold both off. But Imagination is still in the GPU game, having just introduced new designs a month ago.
Now Imagination says it’s signed a new licensing deal with Apple, which suggests that even after bringing its GPU development in-house, Apple is continuing to build on designs licensed from Imagination Technologies.
Imagination’s one-sentence press release doesn’t provide a lot of details about the terms of the licensing deal, exactly what type of intellectual property Apple is licensing, or how the company plans to use it.
But it’s described as a “multi-year, multi-use licensing agreement” that replaces one announced in February, 2014 and which provides Apple with “access to a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property in exchange for license fees.”
In other words, Imagination gets an ongoing revenue source, and Apple either gets to use technology developed by Imagination… or maybe just doesn’t get sued for using technology that might otherwise infringe on Imagination’s patents.