On the WebKit blog, Apple's Dean Jackson says new software APIs "better reflect" modern GPUs, but that many of the major ones -- Direct3D 12 from Microsoft, Metal from Apple and Vulkan from Khronos Group -- aren't available on all platforms. While the success of the web requires common standards, Jackson argues, these platform-specific APIs make following a single API, like OpenGL, impossible in the future.
Instead, Apple's WebKit team is proposing that a new standard is needed. The new standard needs to provide a "core set of required features," an API that can be implemented on a variety of platforms with different system technologies, sitting on top of technologies like Direct3D, Metal and Vulkan, and the security and safety required for the Web.
While being a new open standard that's compatible with platform-specific technologies, Apple says the new standard must also be easy to to adopt, "expose the general-purpose computational functionality of modern GPUs," and work well with emerging standards like WebAssembly and WebVR.
Jackson says that WebGPU is much more object-oriented than WebGL, which is why Jackson says grants WebGPU its efficiencies. For instance, WebGPU handles "states" differently, reducing the work needed before a drawing operation.
The WebKit team will share its prototype with the Community Group, and is also inviting everyone with interest or experience in GPU web technologies to join the group.