Imagination makes the PowerVR graphics core chip (GPU) that powers the current generations of iPhone and iPod touch handsets. Apple likes them enough to have become a huge licensor and even investor in the company. Well, it's looking like that investment may pay off for iPhone users in the next generation iPhone and iPod touch (which TiPb is still predicting will hit in July and September respectively).

Even bigger news? It looks like these new multi-core chips will be transparent from the developer's point of view. That means Apple has far less risk in "fracturing the platform" by adding more GPU firepower to the next gen iPhone. Also, they look to be supporting OpenCL, Apple's open source implementation that allows GPUs to be treated like CPUs and boost general purpose computing when they're not throwing polygons and pixels around our favorite games or movies.

Says the Register (via MacRumors):

Without any intervention by the application - and, more importantly, without any intervention by the application's developer - the driver will pass data to an "MP code scheduler," which will in turn pass that data to one pipeline scheduler per core, which will then pass it to one thread scheduler per multi-threaded processing engine, which will then manage the threads through the engines as they process the graphics data.

In other words, the SGX543 can have any number of cores from two to sixteen with no change in the driver software or the application. All that complex data/pipeline/thread management is done in hardware. No muss, no fuss.

But a whole lot of "we want it now!"...