Report: Nvidia GPUs to be in next-gen iPods

American Technology Research changes rating on graphics chipmaker's stock on belief its technology will be part of forthcoming crop of media handhelds.

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In late May, a Silicon Valley recruiter told GameSpot that it looked like Apple was forming a secret games division. According to the source, former LucasArts technical director Mike Lampell is heading up a group inside the storied iTunes division, and hiring for "C/C++ coders with a 'gaming background.'"

Today, further evidence surfaced that indicates a future version of Apple's ubiquitous iPod player will have gaming functionality. The news came when industry-research firm American Technology Research raised its rating of graphics chipmaker Nvidia from "hold" to "buy."

The reason?

"Based on our analysis, we believe Nvidia is designed into the next-generation video iPod socket at the expense of Broadcom," ATR analyst Satya Chillara told the EE Times, referring to the maker of the graphics processing unit (GPU) in current-generation video ipods. "We believe the Nvidia chip adds 3D graphics functionality in addition to all of the existing features that Broadcom supported with the existing vPod [video iPod]."

Besides the existing video playback, a 3D Nvidia GPU has one other obvious application--gaming. However, it must be emphasized that Apple has not officially announced any iPod with anything more than the rudimentary games on current-generation iPods. Requests for comment on the use of Nvidia chips in iPods had gone unanswered as of press time.

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