or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Apple finally outed as mysterious PowerVR licensee
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple finally outed as mysterious PowerVR licensee

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
New evidence that Apple is the mysterious licensee of Imagination Technologies Group's PowerVR mobile graphics technology broke today, when the company publicly announced that Apple has subscribed to 8 million new shares of IMG, giving the iPhone maker a 3% stake in the firm. A press release also revealed Apple to be a licensee of Imagination's technology.

AppleInsider began comparing Apple's future mobile processor options in January of this year, contrasting reports that Apple would adopt Intel's Silverthorne x86-compatible mobile processors (now referred to under Intel's Atom brand) with details on ARM, the mobile processors Apple originally codeveloped with Acorn in the early 90s for use in the Newton MessagePad, and later began using in the iPod in 2001 and the iPhone in 2007.

In April, AppleInsider reported that "the next generation of iPhone appears set to claim exclusive access to advanced graphics core and video decoding technology, thanks to a secret licensing deal between Apple, mobile graphics leader Imagination Technologies, and Samsung, the iPhone's ARM 'system on a chip' manufacturer."

Imagination had reported a deal with Samsung for a "manufacturing license" related "to certain POWERVR SGX graphics and VXD video IP cores," an arrangement that would allow Samsung to build but not actually design the chips being manufactured. That role would be exclusive to the then anonymous "international electronics systems company" which Imagination said had licensed its "next generation graphics and video IP cores [...] under a multi-use licensing agreement."

Imagination's press release said "the SoCs [system on a chip] to be developed under this license agreement will be produced for this new partner by Imaginations existing semiconductor partners and/or new chip manufacturing partners." AppleInsider identified Apple as that company, based on exclusive reports from sources within the SoC industry.

In September, AppleInsider again linked Apple in a new report from Imagination regarding that still unnamed "international electronic systems company" which it reported had acquired a multi-year, multi-IP, multi-use licence agreement for its current and future portfolio of PowerVR mobile graphics components, including the next generation PowerVR SGX VXD video IP cores. Those parts will introduce OpenGL ES 2.0 support, along with a Universal Scalable Shader Engine that will provide mobile devices with highly efficient, shader-based 3D graphics. The new core is not only backwards compatible with code developed for MBX (used in the current iPhone and iPod touch), but will also run existing code with better performance and efficiency.

Recognizing Apple as the mysterious "international electronics systems company" also helped explain why the company had acquired PA Semi, the fabless chip design firm launched by Dan Dobberpuhl in 2003. Steve Jobs later revealed that the PA Semi acquisition was indeed related to building chips for the company's iPod and iPhone mobile devices.

Apple's purchase of 8 million shares of the PowerVR developer, combined with Imagination's announcement today, concludes that Apple is indeed "a licensee of Imaginations technology" and finally puts to rest any question that the iPhone maker has lined up exclusive graphics technology required to design customized, next generation mobile SoC chips that will be manufactured by its existing partners, most likely Samsung.

The move to build original mobile SoC devices with advanced GPU cores likely also fits into Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard strategy related to OpenCL and Grand Central, enabling the company to push its efforts in parallel processing and GPU acceleration from the Mac desktop into its mobile devices, enabling all sorts of innovative applications for high performance, mobile devices that other companies can't match with commodity parts and generic software platforms such as Android, Windows Mobile, and Symbian.

Additional Reading

Apple suspected in new deal for PowerVR graphics in multi-touch devices

Apple's bionic ARM to muscle advanced gaming graphics into iPhones

Apple's PA Semi working on ARM chip for next-gen iPhone
post #2 of 29
This will bring about so many possibilities. It could make the iPhone so much faster and be able to handle a lot more processor intensive tasks (such as background notifications).
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

This will bring about so many possibilities. It could make the iPhone so much faster and be able to handle a lot more processor intensive tasks (such as background notifications).


Will it bring copy-paste ?
post #4 of 29
sooooo with PA apple can design ,and then let samsung build these sys on chips, then if so they are not therefore limited to modification of a established design, it can be there propriatary design--exclusive to apple?
what about apple making/ designing their own chips for macs?? or are they staying intel.
i'm looking at ways that apple can furthur differentiate themselves, and also prevent "mac cloners" from doing the dirty with mac os.
what does this relationship allow and not allow apple to do?
and don't say "copy and paste" (i'm still pushing for voice dialing)
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franck View Post

Will it bring copy-paste ?

No, Steve knows all.

And yes, that WAS a joke.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #6 of 29
This technology is going to allow Apple to push the bounds in the mobile gaming platform. I could even imagine it eventually migrating to an AppleTV-like device which was designed to run iPhone games, but I think Apple's going to continue to focus on the handheld.

If they can get the costs down on the iPod Touch every kid will want one next Christmas.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

This technology is going to allow Apple to push the bounds in the mobile gaming platform. I could even imagine it eventually migrating to an AppleTV-like device which was designed to run iPhone games, but I think Apple's going to continue to focus on the handheld.

If they can get the costs down on the iPod Touch every kid will want one next Christmas.

They will run into the same barrier that sony did. Nintendo. Nintendo has the games to backup the hardware.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

They will run into the same barrier that sony did. Nintendo. Nintendo has the games to backup the hardware.

Ummm, I just got a cool, touch version of Sim City today. Oh yeah, that same device (my iPhone) plays all my music....and I can make phone calls, and always get on the internet.

I'm pretty sure more good games will come for iPhone and future iPhone/iPod Touches are going to be really advanced!

I never put music on my PSP. Too much of a hassle. Apple makes everything just work. You better believe they are building a good ecosystem for converged devices that definitely includes and showcases gaming!
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franck View Post

Will it bring copy-paste ?

No, but maybe a brand new calculator.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

They will run into the same barrier that sony did. Nintendo. Nintendo has the games to backup the hardware.

We won't know exactly until this actually arrives (probably as the "iPhone 2.0"), but this would conceivably give the device some kind of scary graphics power. It might eliminate the whole "only run one program at a time" aspect of iPhone. It will certainly give the iPhone a lot of power in terms of emulation of other games or ports of them. The iPhone is already very capable, this will make it possibly the fastest portable graphics machine on the planet. It could also make it one of the better portable HD video cameras.

The possibilities are rather endless. The important thing is that while others may licence the same or similar technology, only Apple will be able to use the chip designs PASemi comes up with. They will have the very latest multimedia acceleration technology from ARM, combined with the low power architecture that PASemi specialises in, all on a chip that no one else can use or buy. A chip that others will take years to even emulate.

If the technology works, it really will be something that Apple's competitors "can't compete with" as Jobs says. At all.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #11 of 29
I think that Apple went straight to a miniaturized version of the DisplayPort connecter because 1) there's no reason for the larger version if the smaller one carries all the same pins, and 2) it can then fit on the iPhone/Touch. Expect to see more capable video-out features on future versions.

(And while the Mini DP connector, as implemented by Apple today, doesn't currently support all of the functionality of the spec, at least having all 20 pins means it could in the future.)
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

This technology is going to allow Apple to push the bounds in the mobile gaming platform. I could even imagine it eventually migrating to an AppleTV-like device which was designed to run iPhone games, but I think Apple's going to continue to focus on the handheld.

If they can get the costs down on the iPod Touch every kid will want one next Christmas.

"Santa, may I have an iPod Touch and an extra bowl of gruel?"
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom1981 View Post

They will run into the same barrier that sony did. Nintendo. Nintendo has the games to backup the hardware.

So does the iPhone/iTouch.

Most of the programs sold for them ARE games.

We're not just seeing the SimCity game mentioned being released, but will see:

http://arstechnica.com/journals/appl...-join-the-fray

Apple's new platform is already one of the big three of mobile gaming.
I'm willing to bet that the DS will get a run for its money before too long.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franck View Post

Will it bring copy-paste ?


No. Because it's.... just... too... hard.

Putting a man on the moon was trivial in comparison. Dontcha know?

/end Apple apologist mode


...
Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
Reply
Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
Reply
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbansprawl View Post

Ummm, I just got a cool, touch version of Sim City today. Oh yeah, that same device (my iPhone) plays all my music....and I can make phone calls, and always get on the internet.

I'm pretty sure more good games will come for iPhone and future iPhone/iPod Touches are going to be really advanced!

I never put music on my PSP. Too much of a hassle. Apple makes everything just work. You better believe they are building a good ecosystem for converged devices that definitely includes and showcases gaming!

You are spot on. The CEOs of all major game machine companies better read the phone company CEO's comments prior to iPhone's launch on Apple's chances in the phone market again ... carefully.

This from the link above kindly placed by Melgross
Quote:
"iPhone gaming is maturing as more major games join the fray
By Chris Foresman | Published: December 17, 2008 - 12:30PM CT

With Apple pushing iPhone game development, industry veterans quitting their jobs to focus on game programming, and some developers making record profits with their iPhone apps, it's getting harder and harder to argue that the iPhone isn't a good gaming platform."
End Quote

This iPhone Store model should be applied to music too. Apple should create a section in the iTunes Store for professional bands to release their own music and get 80% of the sales proceeds. See how long the traditional record distribution model would last then.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #16 of 29
This article from ARs give more info on the actual technology:

http://arstechnica.com/journals/appl...phone-graphics
post #17 of 29
This to me is the important thing to take from this. That is the release of this info is a precursor to new hardware early next year. It has happened before with new Apple partners.

The question is what will these products be. For one my vote goes to an IPhone/Touch Maxi. Call it Newton 2 if you want. A revision to the current IPhone is likely on the list too, the reason being the large potential for increased performance at lower power. Which brings up another thing, I could see Apple with a whole family of ARM based chips, exclusive to Apple, very early in 2009.

I have to wonder how open Apple will be with respect to any new hardware it does incorporate. Interesting times are ahead.


Dave
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

We won't know exactly until this actually arrives (probably as the "iPhone 2.0"), but this would conceivably give the device some kind of scary graphics power. It might eliminate the whole "only run one program at a time" aspect of iPhone. It will certainly give the iPhone a lot of power in terms of emulation of other games or ports of them. The iPhone is already very capable, this will make it possibly the fastest portable graphics machine on the planet. It could also make it one of the better portable HD video cameras.

The possibilities are rather endless. The important thing is that while others may licence the same or similar technology, only Apple will be able to use the chip designs PASemi comes up with. They will have the very latest multimedia acceleration technology from ARM, combined with the low power architecture that PASemi specialises in, all on a chip that no one else can use or buy. A chip that others will take years to even emulate.

If the technology works, it really will be something that Apple's competitors "can't compete with" as Jobs says. At all.

I was just reading Imagination Tech's annual report to learn about the company. In it they name
several other areas besides mobile phones as target markets, e.g. PMP, digital radio,
car navigation/information, TV, MID/UMPC and mobile TV.
The company also reports that it just achieved profitability.

I agree that this might lead to exciting possibilities. Further,
I think this investment is an excellent use of Apple's cash hoard.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

We won't know exactly until this actually arrives (probably as the "iPhone 2.0"), but this would conceivably give the device some kind of scary graphics power. It might eliminate the whole "only run one program at a time" aspect of iPhone. It will certainly give the iPhone a lot of power in terms of emulation of other games or ports of them. The iPhone is already very capable, this will make it possibly the fastest portable graphics machine on the planet. It could also make it one of the better portable HD video cameras.

The possibilities are rather endless. The important thing is that while others may licence the same or similar technology, only Apple will be able to use the chip designs PASemi comes up with. They will have the very latest multimedia acceleration technology from ARM, combined with the low power architecture that PASemi specialises in, all on a chip that no one else can use or buy. A chip that others will take years to even emulate.

If the technology works, it really will be something that Apple's competitors "can't compete with" as Jobs says. At all.

great points, thanks
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
post #20 of 29
I'm going to remain bullish on two things I think are coming in 2009.


1. The Apple TV will be based on a SoC ARM /PowerVR setup.
2. A MID device will be based on the same platform with a larger multi-touch screen.
3. Apple will make Bajillions.


The only thing we need to see is how PA Semi and Dobberpuhl can add a little spit polish on there derivation of the SoC chips.

I'm pretty pumped about this. 2008 was a "meh" year for hardware but 2009 could be pretty fantastic.

I want to believe.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
post #21 of 29
Apple has been outed???

I never knew they were even in the closet.

I guess all those Winblows trolls have been right for all these years about Apple's sexual orientation.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

This to me is the important thing to take from this. That is the release of this info is a precursor to new hardware early next year. It has happened before with new Apple partners.

The question is what will these products be. For one my vote goes to an IPhone/Touch Maxi. Call it Newton 2 if you want. A revision to the current IPhone is likely on the list too, the reason being the large potential for increased performance at lower power. Which brings up another thing, I could see Apple with a whole family of ARM based chips, exclusive to Apple, very early in 2009.

I have to wonder how open Apple will be with respect to any new hardware it does incorporate. Interesting times are ahead.


Dave

I would think that Apple is now in the "catbird" seat, whatever that means exactly.

Before, with the PPC, they were in far behind catch-up mode, and never got there.

But with the iPhone/iTouch platform, there are the ones in the lead, and moving fast.

If Apple offers exclusive technology that's ahead of any competitor, then Apple will get the one thing they need—developers, and they will get them without a crazed CEO bouncing around the stage.

If this occurs, then why should they share this?

With OpenCL, it's obvious why. If they didn't, they wouldn't get software developers to write to it except for some small Mac only companies, certainly not the big boys that they need.

But here it's different. Because of the fast rising sales, and the ease of the App Store, they will get all the developers they want, and then some.

This will spiral the sales of everything upwards.

Why then should Apple share the technology? For royalties? For free?

I don't see it. This moves Apple way ahead of everyone else.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

Apple has been outed???

I never knew they were even in the closet.

I guess all those Winblows trolls have been right for all these years about Apple's sexual orientation.

I thought we had known all along that Apple is fabulous.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franck View Post

Will it bring copy-paste ?

Can't breathe.... falling...on...floor....
"The selfishness of Ayn Rand capitalism is the equivalent of intellectual masturbation -- satisfying in an ego-stroking way, but an ethical void when it comes to our commonly shared humanity."
Reply
"The selfishness of Ayn Rand capitalism is the equivalent of intellectual masturbation -- satisfying in an ego-stroking way, but an ethical void when it comes to our commonly shared humanity."
Reply
post #25 of 29
Microsoft may still win!!

Only problem with this plan is Microsoft already has a graphics powerhouse, the Tegra gpu.. normally a Microsofts involvement in the design wouldnt mean much, but the fact that NVIDIA is the company behind the Tegra is HUGE! As they have the budget, expertise and creativity to annihilate any POWERVR Graphics capabilities.

Prototypes (showcasing 10+ hours playback and true multitasking, full OpenGL ES 2.0 support): http://uk.youtube.com/results?search_query=Tegra
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoic View Post

Microsoft may still win!!

Only problem with this plan is Microsoft already has a graphics powerhouse, the Tegra gpu.. normally a Microsofts involvement in the design wouldnt mean much, but the fact that NVIDIA is the company behind the Tegra is HUGE! As they have the budget, expertise and creativity to annihilate any POWERVR Graphics capabilities.

Prototypes (showcasing 10+ hours playback and true multitasking, full OpenGL ES 2.0 support): http://uk.youtube.com/results?search_query=Tegra

At this time, no one knows what's up with the Tegra.It's known that Nvidia has been having problems with the chips, for example:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mobile/...m_on_Chip.html
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoic View Post

Microsoft may still win!!

Only problem with this plan is Microsoft already has a graphics powerhouse, the Tegra gpu.. normally a Microsofts involvement in the design wouldnt mean much, but the fact that NVIDIA is the company behind the Tegra is HUGE! As they have the budget, expertise and creativity to annihilate any POWERVR Graphics capabilities.

Prototypes (showcasing 10+ hours playback and true multitasking, full OpenGL ES 2.0 support): http://uk.youtube.com/results?search_query=Tegra

The only problem is that the protype devices are not iPhone sized they're sized like the smaller side of the MID platform.

Doing a little reading around it appears that the PowerVR SGX 5xx series coupled with VXD and an ARM core is going to more than likely work at iPhone sizes.

If Apple wants to scale out and build a MID device the Tegra 6xx series would be ideal. I know it's not a good time to wait but man am I glad that I should be getting one hell of an iPhone when my contract is up next July.

802.11n, OpenGL ES 2.0 and maybe a video out?? Who knows. 2009 is going to be a mobile tour de force.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoic View Post

Microsoft may still win!!

Actually I'm not even sure MS is in the game anymore!
Quote:
Only problem with this plan is Microsoft already has a graphics powerhouse, the Tegra gpu.. normally a Microsofts involvement in the design wouldnt mean much, but the fact that NVIDIA is the company behind the Tegra is HUGE!

I don't see where it is huge. Further who's to say that Apple doesn't contract with Nvidia to put some of their IP into Apples chip? Once Apple goes custom there are few limits on the possibilities. It is simply an issue of coming to a legal agreement.
Quote:
As they have the budget, expertise and creativity to annihilate any POWERVR Graphics capabilities.

They aren't gods but mere men. Nvidia would have to learn to play in an arena they have never played in before. That is the arena of extreme low power IP based products.
Quote:
Prototypes (showcasing 10+ hours playback and true multitasking, full OpenGL ES 2.0 support): http://uk.youtube.com/results?search_query=Tegra

Yeah SO! I'm sure Apple has gone through dozens of prototypes by now. As to multi tasking, I'm not thrilled with Apple attitude there either. But it is an issue of attitude and not hardware limits. IPhone can multi-task they have simply choosen to not expose that capability to the user apps. Whatever Apples multi-tasking bug-a-boo is I do hope that they learn to deal with it soon. In any event what does the GPU have to do with this?


Dave
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

802.11n, OpenGL ES 2.0 and maybe a video out?? Who knows. 2009 is going to be a mobile tour de force.

The logical next step is a video-chat-enabled iPhone, and with 802.11n, advancements pioneered in OS X Snow Leopard, and a breakthrough like this in mobile graphics technology all that Apple needs now is to mount a front-side camera/iSight. It is my belief that this is the reason that Apple did not include a video camera in the original or 3G iPhones. Why add video to your device until you can REALLY add video to the device with something as cool as iChat AV.

Nothing will spur on sales of both iPhones and Macs than an iChat AV-enabled iPhone. iPhone users will really push a lot of others to get iPhones and shortly people with these improved iPhones will want the most seemless video chat experience available by taking advantage of high video-intensive improvements in Snow Leopard's iChat AV software.

Now all we need is higher speed wireless to get a little more love.

Can't wait. . . .
Crentist?! That sounds an awful lot like *dentist.*
Maybe thats why he wanted to be a dentist!
Reply
Crentist?! That sounds an awful lot like *dentist.*
Maybe thats why he wanted to be a dentist!
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Future Apple Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › Apple finally outed as mysterious PowerVR licensee