More Details on Apple's New Orlando 'GPU Design Center'

apple a6 chipWe've learned more details about Apple's new 'GPU Design Center' in Orlando, Florida, following our reporting from earlier this week.

Sources told MacRumors that the engineers Apple hired recently were not laid off from AMD, but were instead actively recruited -- largely via their LinkedIn profiles. Apple is said to have learned that many of AMD's 3D graphics patents were issued from its Orlando offices and targeted this area specifically. AMD has job listings for its Orlando offices to fill several of these recently vacated positions.

The temporary office space that Apple has leased for the new team in Orlando is located very close to AMD's campus in the city, though Apple is reportedly building permanent offices as well. Apple hired more than twenty employees from AMD and recruited more than that, with Apple reportedly looking to build the GPU team up to roughly forty engineers.

The newly hired employees are said to be reporting to the Austin-based former Intrinsity team that Apple acquired two years ago. Intrinsity technology was used in the A4 processor, and their expertise has contributed to Apple's more recent chips as well.

With its hiring of these 3D graphics specialists, Apple is likely working to redevelop its 3D graphics capabilities in its iOS devices. The company has made a number of acquisitions in recent years to revamp its chip design capabilities, and this new team would seem to supplement those efforts.

Top Rated Comments

Benjamins Avatar
109 months ago
Apple TV is turning into a game console.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
holmesf Avatar
109 months ago
ARM is intently competitive. Both reference design chips and custom chips.
Thats why we have had such an insane speed growth in ARM since Iphone. It was an 416mhz ARM.

Today we have 4+4 cores/4 cores ARM 15 at 2 to 3 ghz. Upwards 20 times faster in 7 years.

Compare that with X86 since 2006. Less then 200% speed increase till 2013.

You are mistaken to think that ARM's improvement shows that it is competitive vs Intel or AMD.

The reason why ARM performance has increased so quickly is the same reason why CPU performance improved so quickly during the 90s and early 2000s: because they were able to take advantage of pipelining, superscalar, out of order, and speculative execution. ARM couldn't take advantage of those things until recent years because of power and size requirements of the chips. Intel and AMD already had these things implemented in their x86 chips, so it's been much harder to improve single threaded performance. ARM will soon face this same problem once it implements all the "low hanging fruit" chip features.

When it comes to competing in the high performance market, the advantage of the ARM architecture declines dramatically. The debate over what instruction set architecture is best should be left in the last decade. Instruction sets don't matter much anymore. The future is about who implements heterogeneous computing the best.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
109 months ago
Have you actually read what is all part of what you call "XBox division"? One part of that division happens to be the Macintosh software unit. So every time someone buys Microsoft Office for the Mac, it adds profit to the so-called "XBox division".

Macintosh software is a part of their entertainment and devices division? News to me.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrmjenkins Avatar
109 months ago
ARM is intently competitive. Both reference design chips and custom chips.
Thats why we have had such an insane speed growth in ARM since Iphone. It was an 416mhz ARM.

Today we have 4+4 cores/4 cores ARM 15 at 2 to 3 ghz. Upwards 20 times faster in 7 years.

Compare that with X86 since 2006. Less then 200% speed increase till 2013.

Its incredible that Apple choose to compete in this market when there are so many vendors to pit against each other. But this is Apples unique position: they control both hardware and software. This gives Apple the ability to put custom DSP and stuff into their SoC's just for their OS.

The A5 SoC had 30% die area with Apple specific stuff. Like the "Apple visual processor (in real world NOVA SIMD), noise cancellation DSPs for Siri, Dual channel RAM and so on.

Apple will continue with their custom SoCs. One thing that is real interesting is Anobit and their/Apples SSD controllers. We will move to fast NAND FLASH chips in iPad/iPhone. Imagine having 550 megs/sec bandwidth. Its possible with lightning to thunderbolt connector or gigabit WiFi.

Remember that Apple's goal is to replace Intel with their own SoC. Todays AIRs/Macbook pros the Intel CPU/Motherboard is 50% of BOM. Apple and the consumers could save huge by dumping X86. A 1970 technology.

I think you're over-romanticizing the rise of ARM and exaggerating x86's faults. ARM's rise owes a lot to all the money pouring into it. More money means more engineering and it also means higher demands. TDPs have also been going up, based solely on the principle that your processor is on less and your average usage is still constant.

Meanwhile, x86, an already mature technology, has always had the high performance requirements in a relatively static TDP. It's also been converted into a mobile platform that can finally compete with ARM on a performance/watt basis.

Well one thing for sure people expecting to see the fruits of these hires in the next few months are way off base.

Yes, it took several years for Intrinsity and PA Semi to crank out Swift. Expect the same time-frame for a custom GPU implementation.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Millah Avatar
109 months ago
They should move to Melbourne where authentec is. Much cheaper and less traffic.
As someone who lives near Authentec in Melbourne, I would love to have a bigger "Apple design center" here :D




Australia is quite expensive nowadays due to the exchange rate.
He's talking about Melbourne, FL silly. Its an hour away from Orlando.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
holmesf Avatar
109 months ago
I'm somewhat nervous about Apple developing its own GPU technology (if that's indeed what this means). We've seen thus far that Apple's move to develop its own CPU technology (Apple armv7s swift core versus licensing ARM Cortex A15) has served it well in the iPad 4 and iPhone 5, but licensing PowerVR intellectual property from Imgtech has always kept Apple on the forefront of mobile graphics. Every generation of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch has licensed the GPU technology from Imgtech and they've always, always had the fastest GPUs of any given generation. And Imgtech's roadmap seems pretty Apple friendly: OpenGL ES 3.0 support and OpenCL support, the two huge graphics technologies that Apple is backing.

So I wonder what spurs this move for Apple to create its own GPU design center. What are they looking for that Imgtech has not provided them? What are they going to use these resources to do?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...