Apple mulls GPGPU and iChat; UK stores without contract iPhone?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple has potentially tipped its hand through a job posting and revealed iChat as the first known app to use OpenCL with new video cards. Also, British Apple stores may be forced to sell iPhone 3G as prepay-only due to their current sales methods.



Job listing points to general-purpose GPU use in iChat



Although Apple has made clear its intent to build support for general-purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs) into Mac OS X Snow Leopard with its awareness of NVIDIA technology and its hopes to formally ratify OpenCL as an industry standard, a new posting for a position at the computer giant's Cupertino campus may point to one of the first practical applications of the technology in its software.



An entry for a Senior Software Engineer at the company asks for a recruit who is familiar with video conferencing and cross-platform programming but who is also ideally aware of GPGPU technology, suggesting that the company may use the more generalized nature of new video chipsets to handle tasks in iChat or other communication programs that aren't directly related to conventional image processing.



While the nature of any possible additions isn't mentioned in the listing, an earlier post searching for multiple software engineers specifically mentions a GPGPU engineer who would help develop libraries for calculating physics, signal processing, and similar tasks.



Apple's UK retail to be limited to prepaid iPhone 3G?



British buyers looking for iPhone 3G on July 11th might need to shop beyond Apple if they want the fully subsidized pricing, according to statements made by an O2 spokeswoman to Mobile Today.



At the moment, UK Apple stores don't have a way to check customer credit on-site and haven't trained staff on how to register customers on contract plans. The limitation would all but require Apple's own stores to offer iPhone 3G as a prepaid device that could cost £350 in the country.



While the original iPhone was activated at home and so didn't require that Apple retail staff activate phones themselves, the need to activate on location potentially shuts out Apple's current sales system and may require that sign-ups for term-based plans -- and the accompanying heavily discounted iPhones -- take place at Carphone Warehouse and O2 locations.



Despite the added business it would bring to O2's direct outlets, the wireless carrier says it's cooperating with the iPhone maker to allow in-store activations for either company, though there's no indication as to whether it will be ready for launch on July 11th.



"We are currently working closely with Apple to enable them to issue contracts in store," the spokeswoman says. "Full details are still to be confirmed."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Three weeks to get a couple O2 terminals for activation and credit checks, and to train the Apple staff? That doesn't seem too difficult when the alternative is Apple limits the number of stores customers will shop in and will lose the important foot traffic that will be going to other locations to get their iPhone.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...suggesting that the company may use the more generalized nature of new video chipsets to handle tasks in iChat...



    What new video chipsets are they talking about? Is apple coming out with updated video cards soon? I'm buying the new imac soon... should i wait?
  • Reply 3 of 24
    joedrcjoedrc Posts: 86member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tannerozzy View Post


    What new video chipsets are they talking about? Is apple coming out with updated video cards soon? I'm buying the new imac soon... should i wait?



    I wouldn't think so, Apple recently updated the iMac line, possibly a new chipset in the MBP though? And then eventually in the iMac when it comes to the next refresh?
  • Reply 4 of 24
    poopedpooped Posts: 40member
    £350 is more or less $700 for an iPhone without a plan..

    who said the new 3G model was going to be cheaper?

  • Reply 5 of 24
    winterspanwinterspan Posts: 605member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Three weeks to get a couple O2 terminals for activation and credit checks, and to train the Apple staff? That doesn't seem too difficult when the alternative is Apple limits the number of stores customers will shop in and will lose the important foot traffic that will be going to other locations to get their iPhone.



    Yeah, either that, or if it is too much of a hassle, they should have just decided to sell them at full unsubsidized price at Apple stores, and then people would receive a $300 or whatever rebate when they signed up for a plan through the carrier. This could have allowed people to continue signing up over iTunes. At the same time, if people didn't want to front the whole cost and wait for the rebate, they could directly pay the lower subsidized price for the iPhone at the actual carrier stores.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tannerozzy View Post


    What new video chipsets are they talking about? Is apple coming out with updated video cards soon? I'm buying the new imac soon... should i wait?



    My guess is that OpenCL code will compile down to Nvidia's and AMD's existing GPGPU instruction sets for their GPUs. If this is the case, it will require either an nVidia Geforce 8xxx-series GPU, or an AMD X1900 or better. I doubt Intels integrated chipsets will be supported, at least at first. They are mostly crap.





    EDIT: Hey I just wanted to add that if you are considering buying an iMac, It's worth it to NOT get the fastest processor available and instead spend that money on upgrading the graphics card. I used to advise people to do that anyway, but especially with OpenCL on its way and other GPGPU applications being made, good graphics cards are no longer just for gamers and 3D modeling/animation/CAD users. As Nvidia likes to tout now days since so many people buy computers that have fast Intel processors but crappy intel integrated graphics, you need a "balanced" system.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    banalltvbanalltv Posts: 238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by winterspan View Post


    EDIT: Hey I just wanted to add that if you are considering buying an iMac, It's worth it to NOT get the fastest processor available and instead spend that money on upgrading the graphics card.



    I did that with my Mac Pro twenty months ago and it was really the right decision for me. Went low on the processor and HD in return for better graphics card and more RAM.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    fuyutsukifuyutsuki Posts: 293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post


    I did that with my Mac Pro twenty months ago and it was really the right decision for me. Went low on the processor and HD in return for better graphics card and more RAM.



    I hope that wasn't Apple priced RAM.



    As for iChat: isn't it the iPhone where such acceleration would really matter? It has a discrete GPU, albeit of course a fairly simple one. If OpenCL can harness that, then iPhone iChat AV could be feasible. Otherwise it's a wait for the next processor, and those solar cell backed-displays we've been hearing about methinks!
  • Reply 8 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pooped View Post


    £350 is more or less $700 for an iPhone without a plan..

    who said the new 3G model was going to be cheaper?





    Tell me where we could buy an unlocked, unhacked, fully supported 2G iPhone for $700 please.



    It's definitely cheaper.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    ollywollyw Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    Tell me where we could buy an unlocked, unhacked, fully supported 2G iPhone for $700 please.



    It's definitely cheaper.



    It will still be locked to O2 though
  • Reply 10 of 24
    banalltvbanalltv Posts: 238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fuyutsuki View Post


    I hope that wasn't Apple priced RAM.



    It sure was, grumble grumble, but just enough to tide me over. I've since put in some more of Crucial's way cheaper proper Mac Pro RAM as well as two way cheaper and huger HDs, both when the prices were (finally) right.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    ljocampoljocampo Posts: 657member
    Will the 8800 GS option in the current iMac BTO qualify for this type programming?
  • Reply 12 of 24
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Remember, CarphoneWarehouse, O2 and Apple UK are all working *together*. This is what I encourage for all employees. Yes, we all have targets and all that, but more iPhone 3Gs in peoples hands = better world. Yes, I do believe that.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    You all do realise that, for those familiar with the chain in the UK, Carphone Warehouse is very possibly the next biggest reseller of Apple products outside of Apple UK.



    They are also owned 50% now from Best Buy, which has specialised Apple Store-within-a-Store, in the USA and China.



    You do the math.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fuyutsuki View Post


    I hope that wasn't Apple priced RAM.



    As for iChat: isn't it the iPhone where such acceleration would really matter? It has a discrete GPU, albeit of course a fairly simple one. If OpenCL can harness that, then iPhone iChat AV could be feasible. Otherwise it's a wait for the next processor, and those solar cell backed-displays we've been hearing about methinks!



    YES. Thanks to the CUDA technology research by nVidia, 8-series, 9-series, 200-series (new from nVidia) all have HARDWARE ACCELERATED h.264 encoding/ decoding.



    For the iPhone, hopefully something like the Tegra will find its way in there someday. Imagine great, responsive video quality, at miniscule amounts of bandwidth.







    nVidia 200-series has good H.264 hardware acceleration support, of course, Windows APIs most commonly used right now, AFAIK.

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_gtx_280.html
  • Reply 15 of 24
    There are only 18 Apple retail stores in the UK, whereas there is an o2 and a Carphone Warehouse store on every high street.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    Firstly I doubt Apple would sell it through their stores if that were the case, (the site didnt even say they would be selling them at Apple Stores). Secondly how can Apple train its hundreds of US staff for in-store activation if it can't train its far smaller UK staff to do the same?



    Something's weird about this.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 915member
    On the job posting I can finally see iChat for Windows. The route will be selling an iPhone to a Windows user, just like selling an iPod to an Win user. Next step is to sell Mobile.me to the Win user and they need iChat as part of that i especially if the Win user can use the iChat just like Mac users can. The reality of visual chats with the iPhone will have to wait until there is an iChat camera on the front of the iPhone. I thought all of this would happen at the last Keynote, now hoping it will happen at MWSF 09. My wife has to use Skype to talk to her brother in Australia, almost daily, and it's a poor, choppy connection that can break off. An no, the brother will not go Mac as he is a heavy tech user as a Medical Scientist and is too old to learn new tricks. Looks like I'll have to wait until January before getting the 2 iPhones - one for me and one for the wife so I can get mine.



    As far as the iPhone sales at Apple stores, I don't see Apple employees handling the contracts. I can see Apple letting O2 put in a server and some of their staff with MacBooks (and it had better be MacBooks ) in the Stores to handle the sign-up. The O2 staff would then hand and Apple a certificate (probably electronic) and the customer can pick up their iPhone. Number of O2 staff would in the Apple stores would be high on release and then drop down to one at some point in the future as sales dropped to "normal". Should NOT be that big a deal of O2 & Apple to work out.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    I really wish they didn't do credit checks when taking out a phone contract. It's terribly invasive and just applying for 'credit' affects your credit rating.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    adavidwadavidw Posts: 4member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    I really wish they didn't do credit checks when taking out a phone contract. It's terribly invasive and just applying for 'credit' affects your credit rating.



    Yes, I really wish they didn't do credit checks when extending credit.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    I really wish they didn't do credit checks when taking out a phone contract. It's terribly invasive and just applying for 'credit' affects your credit rating.



    It in invasive, but necessary when you are buying something on credit. You are getting a device well under the wholesale price and getting service that you pay for at the end of the month.
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