Apple snatches up former AMD graphics CTO

— 3:17 PM on April 28, 2009

Well, well. One might not expect Apple to be interested in graphics hardware design, but the firm has quietly added AMD's former graphics CTO to its payroll. As ExtremeTech reports, Bob Drebin's LinkedIn profile says he's now a "Senior Director at Apple."

Drebin has a long and illustrious history in the world of computer graphics. According to his LinkedIn profile, Drebin worked at Lucasfilm and Pixar in the 1980s, and he subsequently spent almost a decade at Silicon Graphics. Drebin went on to develop the Nintendo GameCube's graphics processor at ArtX in the late 1990s, and when ATI acquired ArtX in 2000, he became an ATI Engineering Director and Fellow. Drebin stuck with the Canadian firm through the AMD buyout and eventually left in January 2008.

What could someone with those credentials offer Apple? Looking at the Mac maker's recent actions may provide a few hints. Apple decided to bring development of ARM processors for the iPhone in-house last year, and a few months later, it purchased a stake in graphics intellectual property firm Imagination Technologies. Neither the LinkedIn page nor ExtremeTech have information about Drebin's latest duties, but the evidence certainly suggests Apple is developing its own graphics hardware—possibly as part of a system-on-a-chip for the iPhone.

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