Imagination Technologies has replaced the multi-year, multi-use license agreement with Apple, first announced on February 6, 2014, with a new multi-year license agreement under which Apple has access to a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property in exchange for license fees.
Imagination is a UK-based company that creates silicon and software IP. Products based on Imagination IP are used by billions of people across the globe in their phones, cars, homes, and workplaces.
The British company didn’t specify which intellectual property the latest agreement covers, but Imagination’s IP related to graphics and artificial intelligence could be key to future Apple devices.
Apple previously used graphics chips or GPUs in its iPhones and iPads that were designed by Imagination Technologies, but it moved to its own internal chip designs starting with the iPhone X in 2017 and the iPad Pro in 2018. The U.S. company also uses its own graphics processors in the Apple Watch. It told Imagination Technologies in 2017 that it would stop using its intellectual property in new products within two years.
The British company said in 2018 there may be “material uncertainty” regarding the future of the company if Apple doesn’t pay any royalties on its latest generation of iPhones and iPads. It’s unclear if Apple has paid those fees, but Imagination has argued it would be “extremely challenging for Apple to design a GPU in a way that allows them not to pay royalties to Imagination.”
Imagination Technologies was acquired in 2017 by Canyon Bridge, a global private equity investment fund.