Why Apple's new GPU efforts are a major disruptive threat to Nvidia

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  • Reply 21 of 76
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    mytdave said:

    ...This is particularly a problem if Apple continues to target new areas where Nvidia would like to be, including the data center, professional workstations used for high-end research work, the automotive industry, specialized imaging products, Machine Learning and the development of AR and VR content...
    I like you DED, and I'm an Apple fan (iPad, iPhone, etc.) but ya know, Apple's just not that smart. They don't give a damn about the data center, professional developers, and high tech research. Besides, Nvidia is already in that space, and light years ahead of anything Apple is even contemplating. 

    Where I work we do extremely high-end tech development, and there is not an Apple device in sight - not because they're reviled or they're "toys" or other such nonsense, but because nothing Apple makes provides even a fraction of the capabilities we need. All our GPU development is done on Nvidia w/CUDA. If Apple ever grows up and builds something that can accommodate four of these PCIe cards, you let me know:  http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla-p100.html

    I see Apple and Nvidia going in very different directions. Apple is taking their tech entirely consumer (including dumb-as-bricks consumers), while Nvidia is going Pro - where all the true heavy lifting and next-level tech is being developed (and still providing GPUs for Windows desktop PCs - which are never going away mind you).
    I work in an industry where we stay FAR away from Windows because they aren't powerful enough, too many viruses and we can't afford computer crashes.

    Your comment is crazy talk to us.
  • Reply 22 of 76
    RacerhomieXRacerhomieX Posts: 95unconfirmed, member
    Great Article by Daniel! Thanks for the great insight man. Its stuff like this that makes Appleinsider unique.
    StrangeDaysai46repressthis
  • Reply 23 of 76
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 622member

    Now, perhaps Nvidia can radically pivot to own new car/AI/ML markets. History shows it couldn't in mobile, despite trying valiantly. 
    I don't think the bet is that they can "pivot" to these markets, they're already there and making the best hardware for the job. The question is, what kind of future do these markets have? Is deep learning all buzz? I'll listen to an argument that it's all overblown nonsense, but right now it looks promising and nVidia could be the Intel of AI. That's not a world like smartphones where making the best consumer product wins. 

    (and before anyone points out how "badly" intel is doing these days, keep in mind they had a hell of a run)

    (IMO VR is DOA acronym acronym acronym)
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 24 of 76
    bradipaobradipao Posts: 145member
    First, Apple can design ARM cpu internally because of the architectural licenze with ARM, and needs a similar license from Imagination if wants to internally design a GPU compatible with previous SDKs and software. Designing a completely new GPU architecture would be a nonsense, just like designing a brand new CPU architecture.

    Second, since A-cpus are exclusive to Apple, they are not a competitor in the CPU market. The same will be true for GPUs, no threat to Nvidia market.
  • Reply 25 of 76
    ksecksec Posts: 1,562member
    Yes, a company that doesn't buy from Nvidia nor sell their tech to others is a threat to Nvidia. Brilliant conclusion, well done. 
    Apple doesn't need to sell A10 chips to impact other GPU suppliers, as the article outlines. 
    Like which "GPU" suppliers has it impacted apart from IMG? A10 has impacted on the SoC and Fabless Industry, but zero on GPU makers. AMD, Nvidia, and Intel aren't getting hurt by Apple SoC.  Unless Apple decided to completely ditch Boot Camp, we are highly unlikely to see Apple's GPGPU on Mac, I just dont see them spending resources for a Graphics Drivers on Windows. GPU as of today, is 70% Software , 30% Hardware. And even if they did, using their GPGPU combined with Intel's EMIB on laptop( Still highly unlikely as Intel has yet to "truly" open their Fab ) Nvidia still dont get any damage because IT isn't being used on the Mac.

    For the power and performance needed on iPhone, AI, Neutral Network ( iOS 10 Facial Recognition ), Apple needed a dedicated Hardware for it. It doesn't have the luxury on Desktop or laptop of 30W to 65W TDP power envelop. So instead of a GPU doing this work, Apple is basically making a Mobile Larrabee. All under the same Metal API. 

    But none of these will have anything to do with Nvidia. Their Target market, or the most lucrative market is 200W+. fitting in Super computer, scientific computing etc with CUDA. Then there is a lot of work on Database on GPU ( Or Specifically CUDA ) , making it 10x to 20x Faster, which I think is the next growth sector. 

    (ttps://scaleyourcode.com/interviews/interview/31)

    It is the same argument for years that ARM will eat into Xeon market on servers. When in reality it is AMD Zen that is making huge noise on the market segment, and OpenPOWER.

  • Reply 26 of 76
    FatmanFatman Posts: 298member
    Good article that gets people talking. The majority of Apple is a hardware company - their goal today is to sell as many units profitably to the largest number of people. Once either profit or market declines they move on. They buy technology where they lack competency and/or other suppliers can produce more cost effectively - when they see an opportunity to increase profit (aka cut cost) substantially, they opt to internally build that technology. Simple formula. So when you ask why don't they buy this company? Or why don't they build this on their own? Ask: Is it profitable? Does a large enough market want it? Will it result in more sales of Apple hardware? However, Apple will be a different company years from now - possibly so different they will no longer make hardware at all. They will be the world's largest payment processor, cloud service provider, licensor of IP, consumer data provider, content aggregator. Services that target profitable markets.
    edited April 2017 ai46
  • Reply 27 of 76

    Now, perhaps Nvidia can radically pivot to own new car/AI/ML markets. History shows it couldn't in mobile, despite trying valiantly. 

    I think that Nvidia is really going all out in the Car market. The hardware deal with Tesla is probably just the start. They do seem to have a really good lead over the competition wrt Autopilot/Self driving hardware.
    As others jump on the bandwagon I see the potential of millions of sales (Ford sold 6M vehicles in 2016) more than compensating for the drop in PC based revenue.
    They will naturally defend this with patents galore but AFAIK, the patentability of Machine learning algorithms has not been tested in court and I have doubts on two things here
    1) The ability of a Judge or jury to understand the technology
    2) The willingness to disclose their secrets in court.

    Only time will tell eh?
     
  • Reply 28 of 76
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,390member

    "They switch focus"
    Since Nokia (for example) makes the varst majority of its income from their Network division, how is their protection of their intellectual property a switch of focus?
  • Reply 29 of 76
    gerry ggerry g Posts: 29member
    Nvidia are out in front because they innovate their asses off, Apple throwing more money at this sector does not equate to more innovation only to more money being thrown at this sector in order to play catchup, had they have been innovating they would have seen these technologies coming long ago, and having to buying in chip designs from VR Tech to get their chip business moving just goest to prove there is an innovative vacuum at Apple. If I want to run a GPU renderer ATM I have one choice – an Nvidea Cuda based GPU, ask any GPU render manufacturer and they will tell you, o sure we'll have one running in OCL one day just not right now, the tech is not mature enough, some one remind me what version of OCL is Apple currently running, oh and what version is currently shipping on the PC side ?
  • Reply 30 of 76
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,292member
    Just curious ... where is AMD in all this?

    Another thought, if Imagination's stock plummets low enough might Apple return to that option? Or is Apple simply not interested?
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 31 of 76
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,292member
    gerry g said:
    Nvidia are out in front because they innovate their asses off, Apple throwing more money at this sector does not equate to more innovation only to more money being thrown at this sector in order to play catchup, had they have been innovating they would have seen these technologies coming long ago, and having to buying in chip designs from VR Tech to get their chip business moving just goest to prove there is an innovative vacuum at Apple. If I want to run a GPU renderer ATM I have one choice – an Nvidea Cuda based GPU, ask any GPU render manufacturer and they will tell you, o sure we'll have one running in OCL one day just not right now, the tech is not mature enough, some one remind me what version of OCL is Apple currently running, oh and what version is currently shipping on the PC side ?
    While I definitely agree throwing money at a problem / market opportunity isn't necessarily the road to success, Apple has a pretty good track record.  Didn't I read Watch is now second only to Rolex in profits in all wrist watches let alone smart ones?  Disclosure, I rank profits above sales volume as the measure of success unlike some people.

    There is another thing with Apple and the GPU technology that occurs to me.  Apple would only be designing a GPU technology for themselves using their own software.  Zero compromises something neither NVidia nor AMD et alia can do.  That approach has proven very successful for Apple in the past in other areas.
    edited April 2017 netmage
  • Reply 32 of 76
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,799member
    The more posts I read opposed to Daniel's point of view, the more convinced I am that Apple can, and will, bring disruption to the GPU space. Mobile is out, and with PC's in decline, those 85 KWHr power supplies in Tesla's S, and MW power sources are a good match for Nvidia's aspirations.
    ai46
  • Reply 33 of 76
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  • Reply 34 of 76
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,626member
    bradipao said:
    First, Apple can design ARM cpu internally because of the architectural licenze with ARM, and needs a similar license from Imagination if wants to internally design a GPU compatible with previous SDKs and software. Designing a completely new GPU architecture would be a nonsense, just like designing a brand new CPU architecture.

    Second, since A-cpus are exclusive to Apple, they are not a competitor in the CPU market. The same will be true for GPUs, no threat to Nvidia market.
    That's not quite correct. Apple has a license for the architecture, but doesn't use it. What they use is the RISC instruction set. Their chip designs are their own, which is probably why they outstrip all the others. 

    Secondly, designing a new GPU is not nonsense if it gives you an edge over the competition. The intriguing thing is that Apple looked at the next generation chip from Imagination and decided to go their own way. 
    netmagetmayStrangeDays
  • Reply 35 of 76
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,968member
    Apple's own GPU is good for IOS devices similar to it's CPU. But, if Apple ever moves it's A-processor to mainstream computing like MAC/Macbook than GPU plays larger role and becomes disruptive in many ways. Apple can build products to sell for all kind of applications from visual,virtualization,deep learning, grid, etc.
  • Reply 36 of 76
    Your entire premise is wrong, and honestly feels like a heavy-handed attempt to prove "Apple Greatness" simply for the sake of proving "Apple Greatness".

    You're talking about a premium company with ultra premium prices (Apple) dethroning a premium company with premium prices (nVidia), simply by entering a market the latter company dabbles in.

    Do you honestly believe that people will want an Apple sandbox to run AI in? Hell no! It will be an in-house solution for them at best.
    And how many Android users out there will accept a premium price add-on for their car that is 2-5x the competitor's product, and doesn't fully integrate with their phone?
    Apple should pray for being option 2 in a vehicle integration package.


    You're living in a fallacy, man. 
    singularity
  • Reply 37 of 76
    mytdavemytdave Posts: 437member
    mytdave said:

    ...This is particularly a problem if Apple continues to target new areas where Nvidia would like to be, including the data center, professional workstations used for high-end research work, the automotive industry, specialized imaging products, Machine Learning and the development of AR and VR content...
    I like you DED, and I'm an Apple fan (iPad, iPhone, etc.) but ya know, Apple's just not that smart. They don't give a damn about the data center, professional developers, and high tech research. Besides, Nvidia is already in that space, and light years ahead of anything Apple is even contemplating. 

    Where I work we do extremely high-end tech development, and there is not an Apple device in sight - not because they're reviled or they're "toys" or other such nonsense, but because nothing Apple makes provides even a fraction of the capabilities we need. All our GPU development is done on Nvidia w/CUDA. If Apple ever grows up and builds something that can accommodate four of these PCIe cards, you let me know:  http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla-p100.html

    I see Apple and Nvidia going in very different directions. Apple is taking their tech entirely consumer (including dumb-as-bricks consumers), while Nvidia is going Pro - where all the true heavy lifting and next-level tech is being developed (and still providing GPUs for Windows desktop PCs - which are never going away mind you).
    Note that I did not suggest that Nvidia's technology isn't impressive or powerful. Nor that Apple is necessarily interested in trying to sell the state of the art in high end pro technology.  

    What i I wrote was that Apple's entry of a new GPU technology could accelerate the disruption Nvidia is already feeling in PCs. Perception is focused on what Nvidia could potentially do. What it actually makes its money from is PC graphics. 

    Steve Jobs tried to make money with high end Pixar graphic computers and Next workstations. Both were state of the art, incredible machines that lost money. 

    He made billions making cgi cartoons, translucent computers and pocket computers that mostly play games, browse Facebook and engage in idle chat. 

    Still, I think Apple is actually contemplating some cool ideas that will also make money. 
    I understand what you're trying to convey, and it does follow that GPU manufacturers in all *mobile* spaces are bound to be disrupted. My response was mostly directed to the one paragraph suggesting Apple may target areas like the data center, high end workstations & research.  All I'm saying is that I have no reason to believe Apple will ever take these markets seriously, and they are so far behind Nvidia it's inconceivable they'd ever be able to catch up (unless Nvidia gets lazy - unlikely).

    So, while everyone in the mobile space is bound to be disrupted, I don't think this will have any impact on Nvidia since they are pushing more and more to the high end, and the cannibalization of the desktop PC market seems to have slowed, therefore Nvidia's traditional market will also remain relevant.
  • Reply 38 of 76
    mytdavemytdave Posts: 437member
    cali said:
    mytdave said:

    ...This is particularly a problem if Apple continues to target new areas where Nvidia would like to be, including the data center, professional workstations used for high-end research work, the automotive industry, specialized imaging products, Machine Learning and the development of AR and VR content...
    I like you DED, and I'm an Apple fan (iPad, iPhone, etc.) but ya know, Apple's just not that smart. They don't give a damn about the data center, professional developers, and high tech research. Besides, Nvidia is already in that space, and light years ahead of anything Apple is even contemplating. 

    Where I work we do extremely high-end tech development, and there is not an Apple device in sight - not because they're reviled or they're "toys" or other such nonsense, but because nothing Apple makes provides even a fraction of the capabilities we need. All our GPU development is done on Nvidia w/CUDA. If Apple ever grows up and builds something that can accommodate four of these PCIe cards, you let me know:  http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla-p100.html

    I see Apple and Nvidia going in very different directions. Apple is taking their tech entirely consumer (including dumb-as-bricks consumers), while Nvidia is going Pro - where all the true heavy lifting and next-level tech is being developed (and still providing GPUs for Windows desktop PCs - which are never going away mind you).
    I work in an industry where we stay FAR away from Windows because they aren't powerful enough, too many viruses and we can't afford computer crashes.

    Your comment is crazy talk to us.
    lol. I like your comment... I didn't say we developed anything on Windows. We're not that crazy. We use CUDA with Linux... With regards to Windows, I'm just saying while that market has contracted, it's not dead and it never will be, so Nvidia will always have customers there.  :)
  • Reply 39 of 76
    freeperfreeper Posts: 77member
    Apple's GPUs will only be used in Apple products. So, for this "prediction" to be true, Apple's products are going to have to somehow put Windows PCs out of business. You Apple fans have been predicting this for 25 years. Yet macOS has like 10%-15% of the PC market. I suppose maybe 4-5 years ago you could have claimed that iPads were going to put PCs out of business, but iPad sales have dropped like a stone, to the point where Apple doesn't even have events to launch new models anymore. Also, there haven't been any major new software pushes for the iPad - either enterprise or consumer - in years. Even attempts to get schools in large numbers to switch from PCs to iPads failed, and Apple has largely stopped trying.

    Also, you really are misinformed if you think that cheap PCs are the main market for Nvidia GPUs. That could not be further from the truth. The cheap GPUs are made by Intel and AMD, things like Intel HD Graphics 630. The cheapest Nvidia graphics card, the Geforce GTX 900 series, costs $125.

    Nvidia makes most of their money on high end gaming and graphics workstations. Those things aren't going to be replaced even Mac Pros, let alone iPads.

    Please, give it a rest. Windows isn't going anywhere. Android isn't going anywhere. And unless/until "the next big thing" comes along, Apple is going to remain a company that gets 70% of its money from iPhones, a self-contained product that has little effect on the rest of the tech world (beyond Apple's own supply chain that its). Peak iPhone/iPad ended in 2014. The competition that weathered the storm has largely seen their sales and profits rebound: Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, Google, Samsung you name it.

    The Imagination deal just means that Apple is going to stop paying $100 million a year to one of their own suppliers/licensees. That is all. It is not going to cause the 85% of people who buy PCs  to start buying iPads and MacBook Airs. By the way ... did you know that the laptops that have among the cheapest Nvidia graphics card lines in them COST MORE THAN THE MACBOOK AIR? Of course you didn't, which is why you made the ridiculous claim that Nvidia gets most of their revenue from non-gaming laptops that don't have the RAM and CPU power - let alone graphics capability - to run cheap Steam games.

  • Reply 40 of 76
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,826member
    The use of GPUs in Machine learning necessitates everyone designing their own. Google has done so, Apple is probably not a step behind but at least at parity  with that effort, although perhaps behind in internal  deployment. Cheers!
    This is what many mis!    Apple isnt going to do GPUs to make a better "GPU", they are doing it to support next gen tech mostly in the realm of AI type processing.  

    Further you will likely see this tech sooner rather than later, possibky with the next iPhone release.  It has to come soon if Apple expects to discontinue royalty payments in 2 years.   Effectively they would need to discontinue the sale of all Imagination coontaining hardware.  To do that the transition would need to happen now.  
    tmay
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