ARM chip found in Apple's Lightning Digital AV Adapter could be AirPlay decoder

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 79
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Such as?

    You really need me to tell you how USB and Lightning (and the 30-pin Dock Connector) cable are different? Ever hear of Google?
  • Reply 22 of 79
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,228moderator
    How soon do you figure they'll swap their USB 2 accessories for USB 3 compatible versions? Given that 3's backward compatible*, you'd think they would have done it already, right?

    The read/write speed of the storage exceeded USB 2 with the iPad 4:



    That says 65MB/s write and 164MB read - USB 2 is around the iPad 3 write limit of 32MB/s. It would take a while to restore a full 128GB iPad over USB 2 but then again, that wouldn't be sequential write speed. They probably should have done it when they switched to Lightning even though not all the Macs had USB 3. Hopefully at the next revision.
  • Reply 23 of 79
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'm seeing here and elsewhere that because Lightning doesn't have 19 pins like HDMI it can't possibly do the same quality as HDMI. While that may be true (but I doubt it) the reasoning is completely false. Lightning's pins are dynamic so it can do more with less. For instance, does Lightning need to have 3 pins for clocking or can that be reinserting via the chip in the adapter? I think the latter. Same goes for pins 14, 18, and 19. I'm not sure why 4 of the pins have shield pins as that is a unique usage to me. Perhaps someone can explain that.

    Type A receptacle HDMI
    Pin 1 TMDS Data2+
    Pin 2 TMDS Data2 Shield
    Pin 3 TMDS Data2?
    Pin 4 TMDS Data1+
    Pin 5 TMDS Data1 Shield
    Pin 6 TMDS Data1?
    Pin 7 TMDS Data0+
    Pin 8 TMDS Data0 Shield
    Pin 9 TMDS Data0?
    Pin 10 TMDS Clock+
    Pin 11 TMDS Clock Shield
    Pin 12 TMDS Clock?
    Pin 13 CEC
    Pin 14 Reserved (HDMI 1.0–1.3c), HEC Data? (Optional, HDMI 1.4+ with Ethernet)
    Pin 15 SCL (I²C Serial Clock for DDC)
    Pin 16 SDA (I²C Serial Data Line for DDC)
    Pin 17 DDC/CEC/HEC Ground
    Pin 18 +5 V (max 50 mA)
    Pin 19 Hot Plug detect (all versions) and HEC Data+ (optional, HDMI 1.4+ with Ethernet)

    How soon do you figure they'll swap their USB 2 accessories for USB 3 compatible versions? Given that 3's backward compatible*, you'd think they would have done it already, right?

    *MicroUSB 3 being the stupidest looking port ever not withstanding, of course. But then again, Apple doesn't use it.

    I wouldn't think so due to chip size and possible power and cost. Lightning does open itself up to allowing much faster data transfers
  • Reply 24 of 79
    19831983 Posts: 1,184member
    So Lightning can't output true 1080p without resulting to up-scaling shenanigans - all for the sake of a compact connector - very disappointing! I assumed Lightning was a variation of Thunderbolt, or at least capable of outputting USB3 like speeds - boy was I wrong! I wonder if Lightning is capable of having its throughput increased through future upgrades like Thunderbolt, USB etc...if not its a technological dead-end - Ultra HD is going to be standard in 2 or 3 years, what then for Lightning? Isn't it supposed to be a ten year technology?
  • Reply 25 of 79
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    1983 wrote: »
    So Lightning can't output true 1080p without resulting to up-scaling shenanigans - all for the sake of a compact connector - very disappointing! I assumed Lightning was a variation of Thunderbolt, or at least capable of outputting USB3 like speeds - boy was I wrong! I wonder if Lightning is capable of having its throughput increased through future upgrades like Thunderbolt, USB etc...if not its a technological dead-end - Ultra HD is going to be standard in 2 or 3 years, what then for Lightning? Isn't it supposed to be a ten year technology?

    1) Thinking Lightning is like TB really was wrong.

    2) Lightning is a connector nothing about it says it can't deliver USB3.0 speeds or higher. Don't confuse the port interface with other aspects being discussed.
  • Reply 26 of 79
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post





    It does support 1080p and 3D video. It's limited by the USB 2 bandwidth so they compress the input like Apple does but with micro-USB 3 (10 pins), they can support multiple 1080p HDMI outputs:









    While pin count limits bandwidth, it can't be the only issue if micro-USB can support multiple 1080p outputs with 10 pins.



    edit: it looks like there's a different behaviour between video mirroring and video playback:



    http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/10/24/lightning-to-hdmi-vga-adapter/



    "Bad news: video mirroring is supported only in 720p, though video playback is 1080p."



    So it's capable of outputting 1080p video over the connector, just not mirroring at 1080p. This issue should only affect the mirroring that the developer was using:



    http://www.panic.com/blog/2013/03/the-lightning-digital-av-adapter-surprise/



    One reviewer on the Apple site said there's no 5.1 audio support though on the new adaptor, which is a downgrade:



    http://store.apple.com/uk/reviews/MD826ZM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter



    If these same issues with upscaling and artifacts affect video playback, that wouldn't be good at all. If they only affect mirroring, it's more likely they'll be able to fix it.


     


    I don't see why everyone is so confused and upset.  


     


    They wanted HDMI out (at least for some devices) ergo they had a choice of squishing it through the lightning connector or doing something weird.  Now since squishing the signal through the lightning connection cannot be done without loss of (some) quality, it isn't a perfect solution.  Also, since wires and "wired out" is going the way of the dinosaurs lately anyway, why not put a Airplay module right in the chip?  


     


    It's a stop-gap measure for those that are still needing "wired out" 1080p signals and can't/won't switch to streaming instead.  They think they have a wire, but instead they are streaming.  


     


    There is a loss of quality, but I would bet money that they tested the difference between the two methods and that streaming is probably less of a quality loss than squishing it through the wire.  


     


    I've seen people on other sites using this as one of those "Steve Jobs would never... " moments, but to me it's the reverse.  This is brilliant out of the box thinking by Apple engineers and it's just a throwaway solution in the end of a cable that they didn't even bother to tell anyone about.  Brilliant.  

  • Reply 27 of 79
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    Since it has a CPU and RAM they could conceivably run something like Apple TV OS on it and use the Lightning connection just for power. Then it could AirPlay 1080 to the TV. So instead of it being a pricy adapter it would be a cheap Apple TV.

  • Reply 28 of 79
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    It's a stop-gap measure for those that are still needing "wired out" 1080p signals and can't/won't switch to streaming instead.  They think they have a wire, but instead they are streaming.  


     



    Streaming has nothing to do with or without a wire. Streaming is a method of playing while buffering, that media applications use regardless of which protocol the data is being transferred by.

  • Reply 29 of 79
    alphafoxalphafox Posts: 117member
    Mind as well just buy an appletv seeing as its doing the same exact thing except wireless. I wonder if there is less latiency hard wired with the adapter, probably.
  • Reply 30 of 79
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     This is brilliant out of the box thinking by Apple engineers and it's just a throwaway solution in the end of a cable that they didn't even bother to tell anyone about.  Brilliant.  



     


    No, it's a sub-optimal and expensive hack.

  • Reply 31 of 79
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    alphafox wrote: »
    Mind as well just buy an appletv seeing as its doing the same exact thing except wireless. I wonder if there is less latiency hard wired with the adapter, probably.

    There would certainly be less latency as there are fewer and less complex protocols to deal with (I.e.: WiFi) but any noticeable difference would most likely be from buffering. The nature of WiFi means that they probably buffer more of the data stream before initiating playback.

    PS: The Apple TV currently doesn't allow an ad-hoc connection from iDevice (or Mac/PC) to it. You must traverse via a router. Routers intrinsically add processing overhead to the path which also introduce latency. It would be great if you could connect directly (think of boardrooms and classrooms) so I hope they add that option soon.
  • Reply 32 of 79
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    richl wrote: »
    No, it's a sub-optimal and expensive hack.

    Surely the number of people who are buying adapters to connect their iDevices to a TV or monitor via a direct cable are few and far between compared to the number of iDevices they sell. I can't see how it's more optimal and less expensive to add this to every… single… iDevice… they… sell…. in the world. And that doesn't even consider the volume needed to support the HW. The iPad could probably take the chips but what about the iPod Touch? I highly doubt it.
  • Reply 33 of 79
    davidadavida Posts: 57member
    This article is missing the image of the low-quality display due to compression. Also, the false statements by Apple that the adapter supports 1080p.
  • Reply 34 of 79
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,228moderator
    gazoobee wrote:
    Also, since wires and "wired out" is going the way of the dinosaurs lately anyway, why not put a Airplay module right in the chip?  

    It's a stop-gap measure for those that are still needing "wired out" 1080p signals and can't/won't switch to streaming instead.  They think they have a wire, but instead they are streaming.  

    There is a loss of quality, but I would bet money that they tested the difference between the two methods and that streaming is probably less of a quality loss than squishing it through the wire.  

    I've seen people on other sites using this as one of those "Steve Jobs would never... " moments, but to me it's the reverse.  This is brilliant out of the box thinking by Apple engineers and it's just a throwaway solution in the end of a cable that they didn't even bother to tell anyone about.  Brilliant.  

    I wouldn't say that it's a brilliant idea as it results in more expensive adaptors and lower quality output. It doesn't even move HDCP compliance to the plug and away from the iPad because the whole data path has to be HDCP compliant. It could even waste power doing compression/decompression as well as powering the memory chip.

    Some people on the development blog wrote:

    "From talking to a friend from Apple last thanksgiving, this was done because of the lack of pins, and the iOS device starts by pushing firmware to the dongle then streams video to the dongle which outputs the hdmi signal. The dongle and firmware combo were described to me as basically an underpowered Apple TV minus the wireless hardware. My friend was waiting for someone to tear into it and report on this."

    "Apple can update the adapter with a new firmware easily, thus enabling higher resolutions and introducing more features later, without the need to introduce a new adapter."

    Having a plug that can adapt to new formats is fine in theory but they still have Lightning on one end and HDMI on the other so I don't see the benefit there and why would the firmware have to be copied every time? Surely they'd use non-volatile memory.

    Also, why would they purposely use 8 pins when the plug has two sides and could have taken at least 16 if this was going to be an issue?
  • Reply 35 of 79
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Marvin wrote: »
    Also, why would they purposely use 8 pins when the plug has two sides and could have taken at least 16 if this was going to be an issue?

    Perhaps I'm not understanding your comment because I'm certain you know this: It's not really 16 pins. It's more akin to 8 forked pins
  • Reply 36 of 79
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


     


    No, it's a sub-optimal and expensive hack.



     


    sez you.  image

  • Reply 37 of 79
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

    The read/write speed of the storage exceeded USB 2 with the iPad 4:


     


    I still say this shouldn't matter at all. "The chips can't write as fast as the port moves data" has never been a valid excuse in my mind. I see it as an aspiration, not a limitation. Add the ports now, have that overhead (and basically ensure a maxed-out R/W all the time), and then build up to saturate that port.


     


    I'm a real pessimistic idealist, aren't I? I've noticed that a lot. Helps to keep a lot of balance in my life, but people tend to dismiss both the dreams I put forth and the hopes I hold back.


     


    And then Apple releases new hardware and they're shown I was right to be pessimistic. *rimshot*

  • Reply 38 of 79
    bedouinbedouin Posts: 331member
    Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these.
  • Reply 39 of 79
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,228moderator
    solipsismx wrote:
    Perhaps I'm not understanding your comment because I'm certain you know this: It's not really 16 pins. It's more akin to 8 forked pins

    I was thinking the pins were just on one side and they had two sets of contacts on the port. The top side would likely have to be plastic or they'd have to recess the port contacts if they did that though. Someone posted a pin layout here:

    http://www.slashgear.com/apple-lighting-port-not-identical-on-both-sides-26249284/

    Anyway, the fact that there's 16 pins on the current one means that there was enough room on the smaller plug that the form factor of the plug wasn't an issue. Some people seem to suggest that Apple compromised function in pursuit of the smaller plug. They must have purposely designed it knowing that 8 pins would be enough for them and given that USB 3 only has 9-10 pins, bandwidth shouldn't be a major problem.

    It's a very bizarre workaround - almost as if two separate teams had the tasks of designing the port and adding HDMI support. Maybe this is why they've decided to collaborate more on things.
  • Reply 40 of 79
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post




    It's a very bizarre workaround - almost as if two separate teams had the tasks of designing the port and adding HDMI support. Maybe this is why they've decided to collaborate more on things.



    Seems like there are some guys in the cable adapter department who want to be in the silicon logic board department hence all the proprietary chips showing up in the cables.

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