Apple has announced it will sever its partnership with Imagination Technologies, the company that has been supplying the graphics tech in iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches since 2008. Last year, Apple entered talks to buy the Imagination, and while that didn't amount to anything it has continued to poach staff from the company, and has now announced it will ditch it in 15-24 months time, with plans to roll out its its own GPU.
So if you can't buy them, divorce them, but this has actually been a long time coming and its timing is noteworthy. It's another big hint that Apple is putting into motion plans to launch into new areas, which will almost definitely include augmented reality.
Tim Cook has said on more than one occasion that he's a) interested in AR, and b) sees more potential in it than VR. The latest word is that Apple is stepping up its efforts on building an AR head-worn device that would supposedly connect wirelessly to the Apple Watch. This isn't expected to make its debut for at least a year and most likely more, but Bloomberg reports that Apple may bring AR to us first via new iPhone features.
All of which would time it right with Apple's untethering from Imagination, with the possibility we could see something as soon as summer 2018. Imagination says that Apple is "working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products" but adds that Cupertino has not presented any evidence of its GPU.
It also warns that going it alone on a new GPU architecture would be "extremely challenging", although we doubt Apple would pull the plug unless it was confident with what it had in the pipeline.