Apple Signs New License Agreement with UK-Based Chipmaker Imagination Technologies

A renewed deal with Imagination Technologies could mean new chips for Apple products.

According to a new report from AnandTech, UK chip designer Imagination Technologies has reached a new licensing deal with Apple, nearly three years after it was laid low by the tech group’s decision to scrap a previous agreement between the two.

Imagination said in a brief statement on Thursday that it had reached a new multiyear license agreement “under which Apple has access to a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property in exchange for licensing fees,” but it declined to provide further details on the deal’s specifics. The US company confirmed the agreement, but also did not disclose more details.

The semiconductor company previously designed GPUs, which are graphics chips, for Apple’s iPhones and iPads, but Apple decided to cut ties with the firm in 2017 to develop such processing units in-house. Whether this move was ultimately successful remains unclear.

Following news that Apple was abandoning Imagination, shares fell 70 percent and the chipmaker put itself up for sale. It was bought by Silicon Valley-based private equity firm Canyon Bridge, which is reportedly funded by Chinese authorities, in November 2017.

In a statement on its website, Imagination wrote it 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.”

Under the terms of that agreement, roughly 2,200 engineers will move from Intel to Apple, which will also acquire a range of patents related to wireless technologies, cellular standards, and modems.

Intel currently provides modems for iPhones, which allow Apple’s products to connect to networks operated by carriers such as Verizon and AT&T.

The Intel deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, will give Apple further control over its supply chain. It also seems to further confirm that Apple is working to make sure that what happens in Apple products was created in Apple.