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Apple has reportedly opened an office in St. Albans in the U.K., just a few miles away from the Kings Langley headquarters of its outgoing mobile graphics partner, Imagination Technologies.
The space measures 22,500 square feet, and is dedicated to developing proprietary graphics technology, The Telegraph said. The company is likely hoping to recruit more people away from Imagination, which currently makes about half of its revenues from the iPhone and iPad maker. Apple announced plans to migrate away from Imagination earlier this year, prompting the latter's shares to plummet. In late June, Imagination said it was looking to sell itself.
Apple's has already been recruiting Imagination workers for months, its most prominent get being COO John Metcalfe. Until now, hires were being sent to Apple's main offices in London, or overseas to California.
The company now has over a dozen listings for graphics-related jobs in South Hertfordshire, the region in which St. Albans and Kings Langley are based.
Apple and Imagination have entered into a war of words, with the latter claiming that Apple won't be able to develop new graphics tech without infringing on intellectual property, forcing a "dispute resolution procedure". Apple has meanwhile challenged Imagination's timeline of events, claiming that it stopped accepting new intellectual property from the UK firm in 2015, rather than in 2016 as Imagination said to its shareholders.
Apple has increasingly turned to proprietary chip designs, looking not just to sever its ties with third parties but to build optimized hardware. Custom graphics could deliver both faster rendering and lower power consumption, something particularly important as the company moves into fields like augmented reality.