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(Pocket-lint) - British-based technology Imagination Technologies has announced that Apple has ended its long-running partnership and will instead design and produce its own graphics chip for use in the iPhone and iPad.

The company confirmed the news in a statement, saying: "Apple has asserted that it has been working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on Imagination's technology," 

Imagination's PowerVR graphics technology has been used by Apple in the GPU of its mobile iOS devices for years, so the news that the partnership is ending is certainly surprising. Although it may not come as much of a shock to industry insiders, as Apple has been quietly hiring staff from Imagination for some time. 

Shares in Imagination Technologies plunged 60 per cent following the announcement, as Apple is the Imagination's largest customer, and the Californian tech giant even holds an 8 per cent stake.

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Apple is expected to introduce its own chips and graphics technology within the next 15 months to two years, and is expected to show up in the iPhone released in September 2018, whatever it may be called. 

Imagination Technologies isn't convinced that Apple will be able to make its own chips without infringing on its patents, and has asked the tech giant for proof that this won't happen, but Apple has yet to respond. 

"Imagination believes that it would be extremely challenging to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights, accordingly Imagination does not accept Apple’s assertions."

The British company has added that it will attempt to strike up a new commercial deal with Apple.

Writing by Max Langridge.