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Rumor: Apple may re-architect iOS to utilize more processor cores ahead of iPhone 6

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
Feeling the heat from Samsung in the smartphone market, Apple is constantly exploring ways to improve its edge on the South Korean electronics giant, including a possible rewrite of its iOS platform in order to leverage SoCs with as many as eight processing cores ahead of next year's launch of the iPhone 6.

Morgan Stanley Data


Editor's Note: It has been brought to our attention that certain specific claims of the Jefferies report are somewhat suspect, specifically regarding a March media event. AppleInsider has reached out to analyst Peter Misek, who maintains a high level of confidence regarding his hardware predictions. As with any research-based report, the information within should be taken with a grain of salt.

The report comes by way of Jeffries analyst Peter Misek, who on Wednesday released an abundance of forward-looking information on Apple's product roadmap, supposedly acquired through his traditional channel checks and supply chain sources.

While discussing a number of perceived bottlenecks that are reportedly preventing Apple from accelerating the launch of a 4.8-inch "iPhone 6" into the 2013 calendar year, Misek mentioned display yield issues, challenges in advancing to a 20-nanomemter manufacturing process for its next A-series mobile processor, and a desire to re-engineer its mobile operating system handle A-series processors with as many as 8 processing cores.

We think Apple plans to re-architect iOS to utilize more cores and better compete with Samsung. Also, we believe the way iOS interoperates with iCloud, gestures controls, and advertising will be substantially upgraded.



While Apple and Samsung have emerged as fierce competitors in the mobile computing space in the last 24 months, their modern day relationship was actually forged in a partnership back in 2005.

At the time, Apple was seeking a stable supplier of massive quantities of flash memory and found that in Samsung. The relationship eventually grew to include Samsung manufacturing for Apple the A-series SoCs (or embedded mobile processors) found at the heart of each iPhone and iPad.

Morgan Stanley Data


With the two companies now locked in a struggle for supremacy in the global smartphone market, Apple has been moving to reduce its dependence on Samsung, thereby better protecting its intellectual property and future product plans.

To that end, Apple is expected to switch production of its A-series process to TSMC. According to Misek, the unknown element is "when Samsung and Apple's foundry relationship ends and what the end of the agreement means."

"Some think it ends on December 31, 2013, and that Samsung could be completely removed as a supplier," Misek said. "While the 'completely' part appears to be an exaggeration, we think that Apple could see pricing increases on whatever app processors it does not move over to TSMC."

The analyst estimates Apple will need roughly 300 million A-series processors in 2014, making a complete transition away from Samsung unlikely. His sources indicate that Samsung has been working off gross margins of around 30 percent when manufacturing the chips for Apple, but TSMC appears unwilling to accept margins short of 40 percent.

The wildcard is if Intel decides to fab for Apple; however, Intel fears that if Apple uses Intel?s advanced processing nodes that it will accelerate Apple?s replacement of X86 PCs with ARM-based PCs. But ultimately Intel?s utilization rates could make this attractive to Intel at some point.



In the meantime, Misek doesn't expect much of a change to the A-series processor that will ship in the so-called iPhone 5S due later this year. It will be similar to the dual-core. 32-nanometer design currently shipping under the A6 name inside each iPhone 5. Come 2014, though, his sources are indicating that Apple plans to include a version of the chip in the iPhone 6 with between four and eight cores.
post #2 of 55
Doesn't anyone even proof the titles of these post? (Original title "Apple may to re-architect iOS to utilize more processor cores ahead of iPhone 6")
Edited by dcr - 2/13/13 at 11:47am
post #3 of 55
Of course Apple will update iOS to take advantage of more cores when more cores makes it a better overall experience but to say "We think Apple plans to re-architect iOS to utilize more cores and better compete with Samsung" is pretty absurd considering where Apple currently stands with iOS and their ASICs and how poor the quad-core ARM chips have served smartphones up to this point.

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post #4 of 55
May rearchitect? Hell, they've rearchitected years prior and when the hardware arrives the OS will be ready. You don't change course at the last minute. These designs are 18-36 months in planning.
post #5 of 55
Where is the evidence that iOS doesn't *already* support multiple core CPUs? It would seem to be an egregious mistake if true. I find it hard to believe the premise.
post #6 of 55

Wait! What?! I thought Apple already did that with GCD! Years ago with both iOS and OS X. It doesn't matter how many cores the device/computer has the OS (iOS and OS X) will utilize them efficiently as needed.

post #7 of 55

iOS allready is using its OSX multicore programming techiques see "grandstation", iOS should reconfigure to it, it may have routines in LLVM that can be compliled on the run to a regular core or graphic core (if applicable)

post #8 of 55

Image Technologies finalization of acquiring MIPS is big news. ImgTec will be the ones continuously updating the MIPS target for LLVM/Clang and what CPU architecture IP they want to role into their GPGPU designs will be interesting, not to mention their foray into CPU hybrid designs:

 

Source: http://imgtec.com/News/Release/index.asp?NewsID=724

 

 

Quote:

Hossein Yassaie, Group Chief Executive, Imagination, said:


"We are delighted to have completed this acquisition, which has been welcomed by both companies' customers and the electronics industry at large, and also to welcome our MIPS colleagues to the Imagination family.

 

“The combination of MIPS' capabilities with our existing Meta CPU technologies will accelerate our growth in the substantial CPU IP market across many segments."

post #9 of 55
What was Grand Central Dispatch all about then?
post #10 of 55
This article is absurd. iOS is one of the most multi-core friendly operating systems out there. See GCD, NSOperationQueue, etc. I've really been questioning AppleInsider and the rumors they post as of late. Seems they post just about anything now days.

 

 

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The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

This article is absurd. iOS is one of the most multi-core friendly operating systems out there. See GCD, NSOperationQueue, etc. I've really been questioning AppleInsider and the rumors they post as of late. Seems they post just about anything now days.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Wait! What?! I thought Apple already did that with GCD! Years ago with both iOS and OS X. It doesn't matter how many cores the device/computer has the OS (iOS and OS X) will utilize them efficiently as needed.

Agreed on both of these.

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post #12 of 55

What a buggus article, who is Peter Misek anyway?  He doesn't seams to know anything about operating systems. 

 

At development level iOS is already on part with OSX for multiprocessing, GCD, GPGPU OpenCL, C Block support.  

 

If one system need to be re-engineer it will be the DalvikVM on Android. 

post #13 of 55

Anytime I see things written that say Apple is doing anything to compete with xyz company, I know it's complete rubbish.  Does anyone really think that people within Apple are doing anything to "compete" with anyone but themselves?  If that is how Apple was operating, I'd say sell your stock right now, because that is a recipe for disaster.

 

Apple plans their work and works their plan - they're not trying to do what anyone else is doing, unless that means re-imagining a product or category.  I'm sure they're cognizant of what is on the market, but to think or suggest they're working laterally to what others are doing is complete crap.

post #14 of 55

This is to all those fans who said iOS doesnt need "multi-core" CPU to run its OS because its "efficient" and "fast".

 

Who is talking now?

 

 

 

The game has certainly changed. What once Apple's boasting about them not "following the market trend", now without Jobs, they are certainly "following the trend".

 

First, the iPad mini. Many thought within the Apple camp there would NEVER, I repeat NEVER be a smaller iPad. BAM iPad Mini.

 

Second, there would NEVER be a need for a multi-core CPU chip for the iOS because "its so efficient" BAM. Rumors of a multi-Core chip comming.

 

Third, there would NEVER be a cheaper iPhone to serve the developing markets (where most of the growth is). BAM. Rumors of a cheaper "plastic" (!!) iPhone. NEVAR!!

 

And fourth, there would NEVER be a need for a larger iPhone than the 3.5" display as it is "perfect" for one handed use. BAM. iPhone 5 with 4" display.

 

 

BTW, Apple lost their "iphone" trademark in Brazil today. How ironic.

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post #15 of 55
Yes, both AppleInsider and MacRumors have been posted questionable, half-assed articles lately. Seems they want to share anything in the rumor mill, no matter how poorly researched and written it is. Anybody can make any claim. It should be up to online publications like AI to filter out the junk, rather than just regurgitating it for ad revenue.
post #16 of 55
Apple Insider, you guys are reporting an awful lot of noise from analysts these days. Anyone who's an analyst gets airtime. And it's getting positively silly that great than 50% of the posts are disappointing because of the junk that's getting thrown out there.

More meat, less vapour please.
post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is to all those fans who said iOS doesnt need "multi-core" CPU to run its OS because its "efficient" and "fast".

 

Who is talking now?

 

 

 

The game has certainly changed. What once Apple's boasting about them not "following the market trend", now without Jobs, they are certainly "following the trend".

 

First, the iPad mini. Many thought within the Apple camp there would NEVER, I repeat NEVER be a smaller iPad. BAM iPad Mini.

 

Second, there would NEVER be a need for a multi-core CPU chip for the iOS because "its so efficient" BAM. Rumors of a multi-Core chip comming.

 

Third, there would NEVER be a cheaper iPhone to serve the developing markets (where most of the growth is). BAM. Rumors of a cheaper "plastic" (!!) iPhone. NEVAR!!

 

And fourth, there would NEVER be a need for a larger iPhone than the 3.5" display as it is "perfect" for one handed use. BAM. iPhone 5 with 4" display.

 

 

BTW, Apple lost their "iphone" trademark in Brazil today. How ironic.

You didn't even bother to look at figures in the article. The iPhone has multicore processors.. since the iPhone 4S. The iPad since the iPad 2. And the iPad mini as well.

post #18 of 55

"Apple may re-architect iOS to utilize more processor cores..."

Really??  I think Apple should keep it optimized for one frickin core!  

Jeez... slow day at AI??

post #19 of 55
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

What once Apple's boasting about them not "following the market trend", now without Jobs, they are certainly "following the trend".

 

I don't really think you can make a case for that.


First, the iPad mini. Many thought within the Apple camp there would NEVER, I repeat NEVER be a smaller iPad. BAM iPad Mini.

 

First, the iPhone nano. Many were ABSOLUTELY, I repeat, ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN there WOULD be a smaller iPhone.


BAM, no smaller iPhone. Ever. Not then, not now, under Cook.


Second, there would NEVER be a need for a multi-core CPU chip for the iOS because "its so efficient" BAM. Rumors of a multi-Core chip comming.

 

I don't think anyone ever said that.


 BAM. Rumors…

 

Real solid evidence.

 

BTW, Apple lost their "iphone" trademark in Brazil today. How ironic.

 

Wasn't today, not ironic… 

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post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is to all those fans who said iOS doesnt need "multi-core" CPU to run its OS because its "efficient" and "fast".

 

Who is talking now?

 

Second, there would NEVER be a need for a multi-core CPU chip for the iOS because "its so efficient" BAM. Rumors of a multi-Core chip comming.

 

 

WTF are you rambling on and on about??? Who ever said there would never be a need for multi-core cpus for iOS? *IF* anyone ever stated that, they were not informed at all. There has been multi-core and multi-processing support in iOS since the beginning. There has been multi-core cpus since iPhone 4s and iPad 2, right around the time multi-core arm processors were being released. 

 

 

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The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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post #21 of 55
Most every time whenever these "analysts" use their additional channel checks and supply chain sources" to predict Apple's big picture plans they entirely wrong.

How they get paid for being wrong all the time is beyond me.

And i woud love to know where they get "TSMC appears unwilling to accept margins short of 40 percent."

Which is it, they are or they are not. There is no "appears".
If they are not in room with Tim Cook and TSMC CEO, it's BS.
post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is to...

 

... show that you have no idea what you are talking about?

post #23 of 55

You guys are hilarious; Obviously Apple is trying to play catch-up on Samsung's Quadcores /s

post #24 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is to all those fans who said iOS doesnt need "multi-core" CPU to run its OS because its "efficient" and "fast".

 

Who is talking now?

 

 



Galbi... wean yourself off of whatever you're smoking.

I don't recall anyone ever saying the iOS doesn't need a multi-core CPU's because of iOS' speed and efficiency.  Nice try at spewing nonsense.

What I do remember CLEARLY back in the earlier days were the single-core iPhones and dual-core iPads slapping-around the dual-core Android phones and quad-core Android tablets.
 

Why?? Because iOS was much more efficient in taking advantage of all available resources.
 

What's that sound I hear?  Must be your ego deflating....

post #25 of 55
The comments saying iOS will just use all the cores efficiently no matter how many there are, are a little naive. Just because there is some GCD special sauce sprinkled on the system does not mean it will just automatically scale efficiently to large core counts. Most parallel implementations have scalability limitations, and building a sytem that performs well with 2 or 4 cores does not just automatically continue to scale further forever. Look at the constant reworking of the Linux kernel to improve scalability on very large systems. So while that aspect of the article may well be nonsense, it is not necessarily so. :-)
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by otri View Post

Apple Insider, you guys are reporting an awful lot of noise from analysts these days. Anyone who's an analyst gets airtime. And it's getting positively silly that great than 50% of the posts are disappointing because of the junk that's getting thrown out there.

More meat, less vapour please.

 

It certainly isn't helping their credibility, but obviously dropping analyst disinfo bombs here all the time rallies the troops.

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post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by martinp View Post

The comments saying iOS will just use all the cores efficiently no matter how many there are, are a little naive. Just because there is some GCD special sauce sprinkled on the system does not mean it will just automatically scale efficiently to large core counts. Most parallel implementations have scalability limitations, and building a sytem that performs well with 2 or 4 cores does not just automatically continue to scale further forever. Look at the constant reworking of the Linux kernel to improve scalability on very large systems. So while that aspect of the article may well be nonsense, it is not necessarily so. :-)

Go read GCD documentation on Apple developers website.

post #28 of 55

I does make you question the technical abilities of the people working for Appleinsider.   iOS has been multicore friendly for ages now.   At best they may be alluding to new power management strategies such as turning off a number of cores completely when no user app is running but this is hardly re-architecting the operating system.\

 

In the end is everybody asleep at the wheel at AI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcr View Post

Doesn't anyone even proof the titles of these post?
post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by martinp View Post

The comments saying iOS will just use all the cores efficiently no matter how many there are, are a little naive. Just because there is some GCD special sauce sprinkled on the system does not mean it will just automatically scale efficiently to large core counts.

And simply dismissing a technology that you obviously don't understand is naive, too.

Whether this rumor is true or not is irrelevant. Apple has a solid history of properly developing and supporting their products. If the current iOS doesn't properly handle x processors, then Apple will undoubtedly have refined the OS before they ship a system with x processors.

And, frankly, no one but a few spec-driven geeks cares. iOS on the current dual core A6 outperforms Android on quad core processors, so there's a lot more involved than the number of cores.
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post #30 of 55

It isn't naive at all.   iOS already supports multiple processors just fine The issue of scalability is a problem domain one not an issue for the OS.   By their nature some apps won't scale no matter what you do, that has little to do with the OS or its already strong support for multiple cores.   In essence your position is misleading here because scalability of an app has nothing to do with the OS.   The fact is many apps would take advantage of the additional cores with little to no effort on the part of the developer if a new machine where to come out with more cores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinp View Post

The comments saying iOS will just use all the cores efficiently no matter how many there are, are a little naive. Just because there is some GCD special sauce sprinkled on the system does not mean it will just automatically scale efficiently to large core counts. Most parallel implementations have scalability limitations, and building a sytem that performs well with 2 or 4 cores does not just automatically continue to scale further forever. Look at the constant reworking of the Linux kernel to improve scalability on very large systems. So while that aspect of the article may well be nonsense, it is not necessarily so. :-)

Even your reference to Linux is nonsense here.   We aren't talking about installations of hundreds of processors here, we are talking about leveraging multiple cores in cell phone and iPad like devices.   In this context iOS doesn't need much work at all.

 

If Apple where to change the OS at all for future multi core processors it is very likely that such changes would be made to manage power in the overall device.   

post #31 of 55
"Feeling the heat from Samsung in the smartphone market, Apple is constantly exploring ways to improve its edge on the South Korean electronics giant"

What an asinine, idiotic headline. So if Samsung wasn't around, Apple would stop improving it's CPUs? Why is the assumption, made as fact, that Apple might do this because it's "feeling heat" from Samsung, and wants to "improve it's edge" over them? I honestly don't think anyone is choosing a Samsung phone over an iPhone 5 because the Samsung is faster. The iPhone 5 is the fastest phone I've ever used, and much more responsive than the S3. This site is obsessed with framing everything Apple does as some sort of defensive maneuver, or to "catch up" to Samsung. It's ridiculous, childish, and most important, most probably untrue.
post #32 of 55

It seems like 8-core systems are going to become standard very quickly. Everything I read suggests that eight cores is the sweet spot between processing power and the bandwidth overhead needed to keep them all talking. 

 

The Playstation 4 and Xbox 3 are both rumoured to contain 8-core CPUs. This could make porting games to iOS very straightforward!

post #33 of 55

It is almost like people have forgotten what happened when Mac OS introduced GCD and what happened when iOS devices added another processor.   In both cases Apple prepared the developer community well in advanced and as a result apps suddenly worked better when these improvements arrived.   Some times the results where ho hum but other times the results where very impressive.   It really comes down tot he app and the developers ability to extract parallel methods from the structure of the app.

 

Short memories seem to generate a lot of useless chatter on this site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


And simply dismissing a technology that you obviously don't understand is naive, too.

Whether this rumor is true or not is irrelevant. Apple has a solid history of properly developing and supporting their products. If the current iOS doesn't properly handle x processors, then Apple will undoubtedly have refined the OS before they ship a system with x processors.

And, frankly, no one but a few spec-driven geeks cares. iOS on the current dual core A6 outperforms Android on quad core processors, so there's a lot more involved than the number of cores.

This is the other point.   IOS represents some of the best code running on portable devices.   Apple already has a sound system in place for digesting the potential of multiple processors so re-architecting for that doesn't seem to be required.   It is far more likely that Apple will leverage their technical excellence here to find ways to better manage those processors power wise.

post #34 of 55

Memory bandwidth is always a problem, it is something that both Intel and AMD have had to deal with in their respective APU's.    However shrinking geometries often lead to innovations that deal with current design issues.   For example large caches can deal with some of the bandwidth issues or you can simply change those caches into main memory.   For many devices the need for a external memory chip may simply go away.   We already are seeing this reality in the embedded world.

 

However i'm not even convinced that apples next move will be many core machines.   Instead I see them moving towards 64 bit computing as soon as they can implement a reasonable core.    That might be a quad core machine of maybe not, the important thing is that 64 bit positions Apple with an iOS platform upon which to build upon for years even decades.   Combine the long term goals with the fact that they now have the very best 32 bit ARM implementation going and you have a good argument for a 64 bit move.

 

Interestingly the 64 cores apparently don't take up a lot of room on the SoC.   Apple could easily make a very interesting processor for 2014 while getting by with derivatives of the current SoC for 2013.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

It seems like 8-core systems are going to become standard very quickly. Everything I read suggests that eight cores is the sweet spot between processing power and the bandwidth overhead needed to keep them all talking. 

 

The Playstation 4 and Xbox 3 are both rumoured to contain 8-core CPUs. This could make porting games to iOS very straightforward!

post #35 of 55
iOS uses the XNU kernel, Cocoa always supported multithreading, GCD is built in, etc... do these "analysts" know anything at all? Why do their stupid statements get republished by tech websites?
post #36 of 55

Re-architect? Please, what the heck is wrong with re-designing.  Architect is a noun, not a verb.

post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

However i'm not even convinced that apples next move will be many core machines.   Instead I see them moving towards 64 bit computing as soon as they can implement a reasonable core.    That might be a quad core machine of maybe not, the important thing is that 64 bit positions Apple with an iOS platform upon which to build upon for years even decades.   Combine the long term goals with the fact that they now have the very best 32 bit ARM implementation going and you have a good argument for a 64 bit move.

Why? What benefit does 64 bit offer on an iPad or iPhone?

Obviously, on a desktop system with 4 or 8 or 16 GB of RAM, it's important. Similarly, when the system is manipulating multi-GB images, it can help. But the iDevices generally don't do that kind of heavy lifting and it's not clear that the benefits would outweigh the disadvantages (larger code, more overhead, etc).
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post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post

Anytime I see things written that say Apple is doing anything to compete with xyz company, I know it's complete rubbish.  Does anyone really think that people within Apple are doing anything to "compete" with anyone but themselves?  If that is how Apple was operating, I'd say sell your stock right now, because that is a recipe for disaster.

 

Apple plans their work and works their plan - they're not trying to do what anyone else is doing, unless that means re-imagining a product or category.  I'm sure they're cognizant of what is on the market, but to think or suggest they're working laterally to what others are doing is complete crap.

          ^

+++ This

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post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is to all those fans who said iOS doesnt need "multi-core" CPU to run its OS because its "efficient" and "fast".

 

Who is talking now?

 

 

 

The game has certainly changed. What once Apple's boasting about them not "following the market trend", now without Jobs, they are certainly "following the trend".

 

First, the iPad mini. Many thought within the Apple camp there would NEVER, I repeat NEVER be a smaller iPad. BAM iPad Mini.

 

Second, there would NEVER be a need for a multi-core CPU chip for the iOS because "its so efficient" BAM. Rumors of a multi-Core chip comming.

 

Third, there would NEVER be a cheaper iPhone to serve the developing markets (where most of the growth is). BAM. Rumors of a cheaper "plastic" (!!) iPhone. NEVAR!!

 

And fourth, there would NEVER be a need for a larger iPhone than the 3.5" display as it is "perfect" for one handed use. BAM. iPhone 5 with 4" display.

 

 

BTW, Apple lost their "iphone" trademark in Brazil today. How ironic.

 

Who are these people you are referring to?   I happy that you and I move in different circles!

"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
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post #40 of 55
GCD was designed to prevent developers from needing to recode their apps to be multithreaded. It's not about support cores. Given iOS is UNIX based, like OS X, it has always supported multiple cores from day one. GCD helps but GCD depends on the kernel. I don't think there has ever been a UNIX kernel that can't cope with as many cores as you can throw at it.

Yep... we're in a new era where total ignoramuses are writing this crap and all the stupid people are lapping it up. The sad thing is, some of this is now affecting the share price.
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