Apple is siphoning talent from one of its key partners, Imagination Technologies, which makes the graphics chip for the iPhone 7.
The British chipmaker was rumored to be in acquisition talks with Apple earlier this year. Apple told the press it wasn’t interested in buying Imagination Technologies, but based on a slew of recent hires, the iPhone-maker does want its employees.
Several of Imagination’s senior employees and engineering talent have defected to Apple causing a “brain drain,” according to a BusinessInsider report. Most notable among the recent hires is former Imagination COO John Metcalfe who has been working as a senior director at Apple since July.
Getting in the graphics game
Apple has long been rumored to be working on its own GPU designs for the iPhone and iPad. The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus use A10 processors created by Apple. The company appears to be building a GPU team in Greater London that would allow Apple to ditch third-party chips like the PowerVR GT7600 chip in the iPhone 7.
Other notable engineering hires from Imagination include Dave Roberts, Jonathan Redshaw, Benjamin Bowman and Simon Nield. On LinkedIn there are 25 former Imagination employees that are currently working at Apple.
Imagination laid off 200 employees in March after longtime CEO Hossein Yassie resigned fro his post. Apple is the third-largest shareholder in the company.