New mobile GPU architecture could power the 2018 iPhone
British technology company Imagination Technologies, who are responsible for the PowerVR Rouge architecture that has famously been behind the graphics processing chips on the iPhone since 2008, announced the successor to that venerable architecture, which it calls PowerVR Furian.
The first GPUs based on the Furian are set to be announced in mid-2017 but it will take a significant amount of time for GPUs based on the architecture to be manufactured. The first Furian GPUs are predicted to hit the market towards the end of 2018, just in time for the 2018 iPhone. When they arrive, the new GPUs are predicted to bring significant performance gains.
One potential application for this extra performance is virtual reality. VR on mobile has been almost exclusively an Android affair to date, with Samsung producing its Gear VR headsets as accessories for its flagship phones since 2015. Google itself also dabbled in VR, releasing the affordable Google Cardboard headset in 2014, before shifting towards taking VR seriously by integrating VR directly into Android 7.0 through its Daydream platform. Apple has lagged behind the competition where VR is concerned, Apple currently offers no counterpart to Daydream and does not produce its own VR headsets as Google does. The extra power of Furian GPUs might allow Apple to make a splash in the VR space if it decides to make a late entrance.