Apple Fails in Attempt to Develop Next-Generation GPU for iPhone 14 Pro Series

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Apple’s Failed Attempt at Next-Gen GPU Development for iPhone 14 Pro Series

According to a report by The Information (via 9to5Google), Apple had been working on a next-generation graphics processing unit (GPU) for its upcoming iPhone 14 Pro series. However, the engineers involved in the project faced unexpected challenges. Early prototypes of the GPU required more power than anticipated based on Apple’s software simulations.

Power and Heating Issues in Prototype GPUs

Two sources with direct knowledge of Apple’s internal workings revealed that the prototype versions of the chip drew excessive power from the batteries within the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Additionally, these prototype GPUs caused the handsets to run hotter than desired. Sadly, these issues were only discovered late in the GPU’s development process, forcing Apple to rely on last year’s graphic processing component design for the new GPU integrated with the A16 Bionic SoC.

Missed Advancements in Next-Gen GPU

The originally planned next-generation GPU for the iPhone 14 Pro models included advanced capabilities like hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which enhances the realism of shadows by accurately depicting how light reflects and refracts. This advancement could have taken mobile gaming to new heights. However, the GPU used in the iPhone 14 Pro series falls short of the significant progress Apple had initially intended. The Information describes this failure as “unprecedented in the group’s history.”

The GPU integrated with the A16 Bionic chipset contains five cores

Apple’s Struggles Continue

This setback follows Apple’s recent failure to circumvent a pair of Qualcomm patents, giving the San Diego-based chip designer a 100% share of all 5G modem chips used in next year’s iPhone 15 lineup. Apple had hoped to use its own designed 5G modem chips in 80% of the iPhone 15 units in 2023, leaving only a 20% share for Qualcomm. However, Qualcomm’s patents have necessitated Apple’s continued reliance on their 5G modems for the 2023 iPhone lineup.

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Apple’s chip design department has faced unusual challenges lately. Alongside the failed GPU development and their own 5G modem issues, the company has experienced a series of departures by top designers and engineers.

Gerard Williams III, Apple’s former top CPU designer, left in 2019 to start his own company. His position was subsequently filled by Mike Fillipo, who reportedly faced difficulties working with engineers and ultimately left to join Microsoft. Apple has yet to find a replacement for this crucial position. Leading the chip design unit is Johny Srouji, who holds the title of Senior Vice President, Hardware Technology at Apple.

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