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Next-gen iPhone, iPad could deliver 20 times the graphics power

Potentially powered by graphics chips from Imagination Technologies, Apple's future iPhones and iPad could see a 20fold jump in graphics performance over current models.


Owners of upcoming iPhone and iPads could enjoy a boost in graphics power 20 times greater than that offered by current models, according to enthusiast site AppleInsider.

Such a leap in power would come courtesy of new graphics processing units developed by U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, which builds the GPUs for Apple's mobile products.

Announced at CES on Tuesday, Imagination's new PowerVR Series6 GPU core chip family is touted as providing 20 times or more of the performance of the current generation.

As a result, "it enables Imagination's partners to deliver amazing user experiences in devices from innovative 'natural' user interfaces to ultra-realistic gaming, as well as enabling new applications never before thought of from advanced content creation and image processing to sophisticated augmented reality and environment-aware solutions," Imagination said in press release.

With Apple as one of those partners, Imagination has created the GPUs built into the central processing units that drive the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple TV, notes AppleInsider. Those CPUs include the A5 chip found in the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2, and the A4 chip in the iPhone 4 and the original iPad.

A test of the iPad 2's graphics performance found a huge leap in speed over that of the original iPad, offering a healthy boost for games and other graphics-heavy applications.

Apple even owns a chunk of Imagination Technologies, so it's a sure bet the new PowerVR Series6 will find their way into upcoming iPhones and iPads. The question is when.

The next-generation A6 chip that will reportedly power the iPad 3 could include the Series 6 GPUs, speculates AppleInsider. Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie seems to be eyeing an aggressive rollout for the new graphics processor line, saying that "we have a very clear technology advantage and an exceptional roadmap for the PowerVR Series6 family which our partners can depend on."

But with the next iPad rumored to start shipping in March, the timing will be very tight if Apple wants to take advantage of Imagination's latest technology.

The latest buzz suggests that Apple supplier and iPad maker Pegatron Technologies has already started filling orders for the new tablet.

Sources in China have also reportedly told Japanese blog Macotakara that Foxconn Technology and Pegatron have both begun assembling the new iPad. But the sources said that Foxconn is taking on 85 percent of the load with Pegatron responsible for only the remaining 15 percent.

Another batch of rumors claims that Apple has chosen LG and Samsung to make the display panels for the iPad 3, thereby giving the bum's rush to Sharp, which reportedly failed to meet Apple's specifications.

With the iPad 3 likely to ship sometime in the first quarter, we can safely predict that the rumor mill will be heating up as we come closer to an expected launch.