If you haven’t seen the pattern, ever since iPhone 4 and the introduction of Apple A4, Apple has slowly started to make in-house all the parts of the SoC in order to have a better control over the IPs (Intellectual Property). The next is modem but this will likely take some time.
If you license the GPU from Imagination technologies and get the PowerVR based graphics, there is a chance that some other competitor might do the same. This has been happening in the past as both Samsung and Apple are using the GPU IP from either Imagination Technologies or ARM. These are the two popular choices.
Apple and Samsung have a big advantage over anyone else who was not making its own SoC in house. Apple and Samsung allocate a very big area SoC that would be a tough sell for anyone who is not certain it can sell at least a few million (tens of million) of these devices.
Repeatedly Apple showed us a power to sell tens of millions of its phones and tablets using its in-house A10 and A10X SoC and we have a strong belief that this will continue with A11, but now with Apple GPU inside.
Apple stated in its PR.
„A11 Bionic also integrates an Apple-designed GPU with a three-core design that delivers up to 30 percent faster graphics performance than the previous generation”
The only thing that Phil Schiller the senior vice president of worldwide marketing revealed is that this a 3 core design, 30 percent faster than A10 and has A10 performance at half the power. This can be interpreted that the Apple designed GPU is 30 percent faster than PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600 Plus that is inside of the iPhone 7, 7 Plus. This is not a great score as the PowerVR Series 8 announced in March could easily outperform Apple.
Apple didn’t mention that A11 is 10nm, and going from 16nm to 10nm will save you a lot of power, give you a headroom for a clock increase and one is able to put much more GPU transistors
The PowerVR Series 8 codename Furian is built for new sub-14nm process geometries and according to Imagination, it GFLOPS/mm2 is improved 35% and Fill rate/mm2 is improved 80% with massive 70% to 90% gaming performance increase compared to the 7XT Plus series on the same node.
Furthermore Furian GT8525 promises +80% fps Trex benchmark, +50% fps Manhattan benchmark, +50% fps Antutu benchmark, +100% Fillrate throughput for GUI and +50% GFLOPs for Compute.
Based on these numbers if Apple uses the same size Furian GPU inside of the A11 it will more likely be faster than the Apple own GPU that is clearly behind these numbers.
Apple own GPU that remain nameless for now, is a great achievement for Apple, as having your own GPU will make you compete better against the other. Again, Apple is currently its own enemy as it will most likely cripple the sales of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as all the fanboy will want the iPhone X rated edition.