Apple posts GPU-related job openings in UK following Imagination breakup

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple is ramping up its efforts to create its own GPU designs, following the iPhone producer's decision to stop working with the U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, by advertising a number of job postings within the graphics field in London.




Appearing on the United Kingdom version of Apple's jobs board over the last month, the company has listed 12 "Hardware Engineering" job postings in London, located within Hanover Street. Spotted by The Telegraph, the listings are for Apple's "UK Design Centre," with 11 out of the 12 openings having some connection to GPU design.

In the listing for the Engineering Program Manager posted on March 29, the posting mentions a "newly formed graphics design team" that would work on the "definition of the architecture, spec, design, and verification of graphics IP from concept through to silicon." Another posting for a Design Verification Lead involves "RTL verification of blocks in graphics cores, requiring a "deep understanding of the micro-architectural details of designs, and how they work within the broader GPU."

Other roles advertised in the last month include a Design Verification Engineer, a Graphics Content Engineer, and an Emulation Engineer who needs to have an understanding of "CPU and/or GPU architecture and micro architecture."

The advertising for new graphics-related roles follow after it was revealed Apple was working on its own graphics technology to use in iOS devices in the future. The project was confirmed as part of a statement from Imagination Technologies, the UK firm that has provided Apple's mobile graphics processing architecture used in iPhones, iPads, and other devices for a number of years.

Apple has not revealed why it is moving away from its partnership with Imagination in favor of its own designs, but it is likely to be an attempt by Apple to exert more control over the hardware it produces. By designing its own GPU cores, like it does for its A-series processors, Apple could fine tune the technology to what it believes is required, eliminating potential limitations from work created by third-party companies.

It is unknown exactly when Apple will be bringing out products using its own GPU designs, but according to Imagination's statement, Apple will stop using its intellectual property in its new products within 15 months to two years.

In the same statement, Imagination advised it believed it would be extremely challenging for Apple to design a brand new GPU architecture from scratch without infringing its intellectual property rights, in what seemed to be a threat of potential legal action. Imagination requested evidence from Apple for its work, but was declined.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,187member
    Recruitment from Imagination tactic maybe?
  • Reply 2 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 4,702member
    Are not GPUs power hogs? Could it be that Apple will work to produce GPUs that are more power efficient while maintaining performance goals? I’d hate top wind up with a power sipping GPU that underperforms. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    pk22901pk22901 Posts: 100member
    When Apple funds and works in close partnership with Imagination, Imagination gets to market all new IP and performance advances to the open market. Apple, in effect, is making its competition stronger with its own funds and R&D. This is why Apple favors TSMC over Samsung. TSMC is simply a fab, not a competitor that will use Apple's advances against Apple.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,087member
    lkrupp said:
    Are not GPUs power hogs? Could it be that Apple will work to produce GPUs that are more power efficient while maintaining performance goals? I’d hate top wind up with a power sipping GPU that underperforms. 
    The power envelope for flagship phones is about 3 watts. For tablets, it's about 5 watts. Whatever Apple does needs to be constrained to those envelopes. So we've been seeing newer chips coming out with higher performance, but remaining within those numbers.

    with Apple having its own GPU IP, it can more easily move the power usage on the SoC around between the CPUs and the GPUs, depending on where they're going at any given time. I imagine that Apple also has specialized needs that it wants to deal with itself (AR, VR), as using a vendor normally means giving up these advances to competitors at some point, as well as making at least some of it public.
    edited April 10 EsquireCatswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 17
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,087member
    pk22901 said:
    When Apple funds and works in close partnership with Imagination, Imagination gets to market all new IP and performance advances to the open market. Apple, in effect, is making its competition stronger with its own funds and R&D. This is why Apple favors TSMC over Samsung. TSMC is simply a fab, not a competitor that will use Apple's advances against Apple.
    When Apple designs a chip, Samsung isn't going to use that IP for themselves. We can see that very clearly by performances differences alone. But, if Apple asked Samsung to design more advanced features, it could be possible that the contract would allow Samsung, after some specified interval, to use it in their own chips. That's a big difference.
    netmagewatto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 6 of 17
    fracfrac Posts: 445member
    My guess is that Apple are going to go the whole hog and build their own isa- outlandish as that sounds...and are probably further down the road than is commonly thought. 
    http://www.realworldtech.com/apple-custom-gpu/
    Is RISC-V a possibility?
    This guy comes to Cambridge MUG occasionally...
    http://freebsdfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/initial-freebsd-risc-v-architecture.html?m=1

  • Reply 7 of 17
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 1,621moderator
    melgross said:
    pk22901 said:
    When Apple funds and works in close partnership with Imagination, Imagination gets to market all new IP and performance advances to the open market. Apple, in effect, is making its competition stronger with its own funds and R&D. This is why Apple favors TSMC over Samsung. TSMC is simply a fab, not a competitor that will use Apple's advances against Apple.
    When Apple designs a chip, Samsung isn't going to use that IP for themselves. We can see that very clearly by performances differences alone. But, if Apple asked Samsung to design more advanced features, it could be possible that the contract would allow Samsung, after some specified interval, to use it in their own chips. That's a big difference.
    When Apple pays Samsung to produce chips in its factories, that provides cash flow and profits to a business in competition with Apple; a business that has a track record of IP theft.  So it doesn't have to be direct IP transfer.
    EsquireCatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 17
    wigbywigby Posts: 554member
    Apple is ramping up its efforts to create its own GPU designs, following the iPhone producer's decision to stop working with the U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, by advertising a number of job postings within the graphics field in London.




    Appearing on the United Kingdom version of Apple's jobs board over the last month, the company has listed 12 "Hardware Engineering" job postings in London, located within Hanover Street. Spotted by The Telegraph, the listings are for Apple's "UK Design Centre," with 11 out of the 12 openings having some connection to GPU design.

    In the listing for the Engineering Program Manager posted on March 29, the posting mentions a "newly formed graphics design team" that would work on the "definition of the architecture, spec, design, and verification of graphics IP from concept through to silicon." Another posting for a Design Verification Lead involves "RTL verification of blocks in graphics cores, requiring a "deep understanding of the micro-architectural details of designs, and how they work within the broader GPU."

    Other roles advertised in the last month include a Design Verification Engineer, a Graphics Content Engineer, and an Emulation Engineer who needs to have an understanding of "CPU and/or GPU architecture and micro architecture."

    The advertising for new graphics-related roles follow after it was revealed Apple was working on its own graphics technology to use in iOS devices in the future. The project was confirmed as part of a statement from Imagination Technologies, the UK firm that has provided Apple's mobile graphics processing architecture used in iPhones, iPads, and other devices for a number of years.

    Apple has not revealed why it is moving away from its partnership with Imagination in favor of its own designs, but it is likely to be an attempt by Apple to exert more control over the hardware it produces. By designing its own GPU cores, like it does for its A-series processors, Apple could fine tune the technology to what it believes is required, eliminating potential limitations from work created by third-party companies.

    It is unknown exactly when Apple will be bringing out products using its own GPU designs, but according to Imagination's statement, Apple will stop using its intellectual property in its new products within 15 months to two years.

    In the same statement, Imagination advised it believed it would be extremely challenging for Apple to design a brand new GPU architecture from scratch without infringing its intellectual property rights, in what seemed to be a threat of potential legal action. Imagination requested evidence from Apple for its work, but was declined.
    Can anyone explain why new job postings always seem to follow news or rumors? The same thing happened with Apple's security initiatives, car, watch, etc. Shouldn't these job postings appear months or even years before the new product rumor or announcement? Supposedly, Apple's been working on something big in AR for over a year now. Even I know they need some kind of customized GPU for such an endeavor so why are we only seeing job listings now?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,652member
    frac said:
    My guess is that Apple are going to go the whole hog and build their own isa- outlandish as that sounds...and are probably further down the road than is commonly thought. 
    http://www.realworldtech.com/apple-custom-gpu/
    Is RISC-V a possibility?
    This guy comes to Cambridge MUG occasionally...
    http://freebsdfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/initial-freebsd-risc-v-architecture.html?m=1

    Excellent links.  Thank you. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    fracfrac Posts: 445member
    wigby said:
    Apple is ramping up its efforts to create its own GPU designs, following the iPhone producer's decision to stop working with the U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, by advertising a number of job postings within the graphics field in London.




    Appearing on the United Kingdom version of Apple's jobs board over the last month, the company has listed 12 "Hardware Engineering" job postings in London, located within Hanover Street. Spotted by The Telegraph, the listings are for Apple's "UK Design Centre," with 11 out of the 12 openings having some connection to GPU design.

    In the listing for the Engineering Program Manager posted on March 29, the posting mentions a "newly formed graphics design team" that would work on the "definition of the architecture, spec, design, and verification of graphics IP from concept through to silicon." Another posting for a Design Verification Lead involves "RTL verification of blocks in graphics cores, requiring a "deep understanding of the micro-architectural details of designs, and how they work within the broader GPU."

    Other roles advertised in the last month include a Design Verification Engineer, a Graphics Content Engineer, and an Emulation Engineer who needs to have an understanding of "CPU and/or GPU architecture and micro architecture."

    The advertising for new graphics-related roles follow after it was revealed Apple was working on its own graphics technology to use in iOS devices in the future. The project was confirmed as part of a statement from Imagination Technologies, the UK firm that has provided Apple's mobile graphics processing architecture used in iPhones, iPads, and other devices for a number of years.

    Apple has not revealed why it is moving away from its partnership with Imagination in favor of its own designs, but it is likely to be an attempt by Apple to exert more control over the hardware it produces. By designing its own GPU cores, like it does for its A-series processors, Apple could fine tune the technology to what it believes is required, eliminating potential limitations from work created by third-party companies.

    It is unknown exactly when Apple will be bringing out products using its own GPU designs, but according to Imagination's statement, Apple will stop using its intellectual property in its new products within 15 months to two years.

    In the same statement, Imagination advised it believed it would be extremely challenging for Apple to design a brand new GPU architecture from scratch without infringing its intellectual property rights, in what seemed to be a threat of potential legal action. Imagination requested evidence from Apple for its work, but was declined.
    Can anyone explain why new job postings always seem to follow news or rumors? The same thing happened with Apple's security initiatives, car, watch, etc. Shouldn't these job postings appear months or even years before the new product rumor or announcement? Supposedly, Apple's been working on something big in AR for over a year now. Even I know they need some kind of customized GPU for such an endeavor so why are we only seeing job listings now?
    Well you first have to have a good idea of the concept's requirements before targeted hiring sprees. Particularly since Apple is in uncharted waters. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,944member
    This isnt news guys, Apple has been known to be hiring GPU engineers for years now.  They have scooped up a number of AMD ebgineers for example.

    im of the opinion though that the long term goal here isnt the GPU per say but rather a GPU that does AI well.  While we have seen very good performance increases in the short term i have to believe the long term play is suppirt of AI type technologies.  

    The GPU is one place to do AI type calculations and with a bit of work the GPU can be exteneded to better suppirt processing on the GPU.   In otherwords Apple can take the GPU much farther into the workd of Heterogeneous computing than is possible buying IP from vendors.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,087member
    melgross said:
    pk22901 said:
    When Apple funds and works in close partnership with Imagination, Imagination gets to market all new IP and performance advances to the open market. Apple, in effect, is making its competition stronger with its own funds and R&D. This is why Apple favors TSMC over Samsung. TSMC is simply a fab, not a competitor that will use Apple's advances against Apple.
    When Apple designs a chip, Samsung isn't going to use that IP for themselves. We can see that very clearly by performances differences alone. But, if Apple asked Samsung to design more advanced features, it could be possible that the contract would allow Samsung, after some specified interval, to use it in their own chips. That's a big difference.
    When Apple pays Samsung to produce chips in its factories, that provides cash flow and profits to a business in competition with Apple; a business that has a track record of IP theft.  So it doesn't have to be direct IP transfer.
    No, that's not true. These are totally separate divisions. Apple has never had a problem with their component manufacturing division, so don't make things up. What Apple has had a problem with is Samsung copying physical design, and some software IP. Apple has never, in their 31 suits against Samsung worldwide, accused Samsung of stealing SoC IP.

    and when Samsung had Apple as a SoC customer, Apple wasn't a competitor in that space, because Apple doesn't sell those chips.
    edited April 10 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    netmagenetmage Posts: 99member
    It's not necessarily about stealing IP but rather funding improvements in FAB technology that Samsung can then use with their own SOCs in devices that directly compete with Apple. 
    edited April 11 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    adm1adm1 Posts: 323member
    wigby said:
    Apple is ramping up its efforts to create its own GPU designs, following the iPhone producer's decision to stop working with the U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, by advertising a number of job postings within the graphics field in London.




    Appearing on the United Kingdom version of Apple's jobs board over the last month, the company has listed 12 "Hardware Engineering" job postings in London, located within Hanover Street. Spotted by The Telegraph, the listings are for Apple's "UK Design Centre," with 11 out of the 12 openings having some connection to GPU design.

    In the listing for the Engineering Program Manager posted on March 29, the posting mentions a "newly formed graphics design team" that would work on the "definition of the architecture, spec, design, and verification of graphics IP from concept through to silicon." Another posting for a Design Verification Lead involves "RTL verification of blocks in graphics cores, requiring a "deep understanding of the micro-architectural details of designs, and how they work within the broader GPU."

    Other roles advertised in the last month include a Design Verification Engineer, a Graphics Content Engineer, and an Emulation Engineer who needs to have an understanding of "CPU and/or GPU architecture and micro architecture."

    The advertising for new graphics-related roles follow after it was revealed Apple was working on its own graphics technology to use in iOS devices in the future. The project was confirmed as part of a statement from Imagination Technologies, the UK firm that has provided Apple's mobile graphics processing architecture used in iPhones, iPads, and other devices for a number of years.

    Apple has not revealed why it is moving away from its partnership with Imagination in favor of its own designs, but it is likely to be an attempt by Apple to exert more control over the hardware it produces. By designing its own GPU cores, like it does for its A-series processors, Apple could fine tune the technology to what it believes is required, eliminating potential limitations from work created by third-party companies.

    It is unknown exactly when Apple will be bringing out products using its own GPU designs, but according to Imagination's statement, Apple will stop using its intellectual property in its new products within 15 months to two years.

    In the same statement, Imagination advised it believed it would be extremely challenging for Apple to design a brand new GPU architecture from scratch without infringing its intellectual property rights, in what seemed to be a threat of potential legal action. Imagination requested evidence from Apple for its work, but was declined.
    Can anyone explain why new job postings always seem to follow news or rumors? The same thing happened with Apple's security initiatives, car, watch, etc. Shouldn't these job postings appear months or even years before the new product rumor or announcement? Supposedly, Apple's been working on something big in AR for over a year now. Even I know they need some kind of customized GPU for such an endeavor so why are we only seeing job listings now?
    Probably saw an opportunity to snag some disgruntled or worried IT employees following the news last week - they've no doubt been hiring for years and already have a team. But if a company with the experts you need suddenly loses half its value and posts a worrying outlook for the future, it's a smart move to entice those jumpy employees over to a secure future doing what they already know and do. Win-win, except for IT as a company.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 3,206member
    wizard69 said:
    This isnt news guys, Apple has been known to be hiring GPU engineers for years now.  They have scooped up a number of AMD ebgineers for example.

    im of the opinion though that the long term goal here isnt the GPU per say but rather a GPU that does AI well.  While we have seen very good performance increases in the short term i have to believe the long term play is suppirt of AI type technologies.  

    The GPU is one place to do AI type calculations and with a bit of work the GPU can be exteneded to better suppirt processing on the GPU.   In otherwords Apple can take the GPU much farther into the workd of Heterogeneous computing than is possible buying IP from vendors.  
    That's even more important to Apple which, because of privacy considerations, has to do more AI on device than the competition. That could turn up very well cause not everything can wait for the backend... AI related to sensor inputs (ARVR,health,sounds, or even sensors related to a car) need to be close to home.
    That's one place google can't follow it to. Apple's partnership with IBM here could produce even bigger innovations.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,087member
    netmage said:
    It's not necessarily about stealing IP but rather funding improvements in FAB technology that Samsung can then use with their own SOCs in devices that directly compete with Apple. 
    I can't agree with that. Apple's chips were built for Apple in Samsung's massive Texas plant, most of which was devoted to Apple products. Overall, Apple accounted for, depending on whom you believe, between 40 and 60% of all of Samsung's SoC output. Losing that was a major blow to Samsung, and has had Samsung scrambling around to find customers to fill that space.

    any improvements from building Apple's chips came from Samsung, not Apple. Apple is forced to design their chips to a process, not the other way around. So when Samsung makes improvements, it benefits their customers. The sales and profits Samsung gets from that spurs them on to make more improvements, as it should. Now, they're offering some discounts to get customers. How does that benefit them? It doesn't.

    apple left, partly, if what we read is true, and remember that it might not be, because Apple wanted to move away because of the other issues they were having. But, more rumors have it that Apple will be moving back, at least partly, with the A12. True? Who knows?
  • Reply 17 of 17
    ksecksec Posts: 1,258member
    wizard69 said:
    This isnt news guys, Apple has been known to be hiring GPU engineers for years now.  They have scooped up a number of AMD ebgineers for example.

    im of the opinion though that the long term goal here isnt the GPU per say but rather a GPU that does AI well.  While we have seen very good performance increases in the short term i have to believe the long term play is suppirt of AI type technologies.  

    The GPU is one place to do AI type calculations and with a bit of work the GPU can be exteneded to better suppirt processing on the GPU.   In otherwords Apple can take the GPU much farther into the workd of Heterogeneous computing than is possible buying IP from vendors.  
    This has been partly confirmed by some one within the industry. But i cant remember if it was on HN, Reddit or Arc.

    Apple currently ships ~250M iOS devices per year.  In terms of unit that is already the entire size of PC market shipment.
    And 20M Mac sold per year, the current Discreet Graphics market is roughly 45M Unit, with 72% Nvidia and 28% to AMD. If Apple were to equip all Mac with its own GPU it will be bigger then AMD in total PC GPU market unit.  
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