Nearly since the beginning, Apple has been using Imagination Technologies’ GPUs in their iOS devices. The current renaissance of this is in the form of the PowerVR SGX543MP2 that is built into Apple’s A5 chip. The same chip that is currently used to power the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.
You may remember that back in June Imagination Technologies had announced that they had signed on the first six licensees for their Series6 GPU architecture. Apple was not named specifically, but considering that Apple has a financial stake in the company, it’s a safe be that Apple is using this new technology.
As for the technology itself, the Series6 family will reportedly have performance improvements of up to 20X that of the G6400 and G6200 that were included in the A5 and A4 chips respectively. Plus, the Series 6 GPU will take advantage of such APIs as OpenGL ES “Haiti”, OpenGL 3.x/4.x, and OpenCL 1.x, which will lead to maximum performance from these chips. In fact, a Series6-based GPU can push 350 million polygons per second. The current A5 chip with the dual-core SGX54MP2 GPU can only push 70 million polygons per second.
In other words, expect Apple’s next-generation iOS device chip to have quad-cores, and be able to handle a tremendous graphical workload. That comes as no surprise considering that, as you’ve likely heard by now, the next-generation iPad will likely have a “Retina” display. You need more horsepower to handle the 2048×1536 resolution.