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In a bombshell press release issued Monday, UK chip designer Imagination Technologies said Apple told it that it would end a fruitful deal to use Imagination’s blueprints for customized graphics cores in its own A-series chips powering iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and Apple TV devices.
Apparently, the Cupertino company is now looking to create independent GPU designs that could be ready in about two year’s time. Shares of Imagination immediately plunged over 70 percent to their lowest level since the financial crisis in 2009, wiping over $625 million off the company’s market value.
Apple is Imagination’s biggest customer: more than half of the UK company’s revenues come from Apple, as per The Financial Times. Imagination says Apple’s “asserted that it has been working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on Imagination’s technology.”
In other words, Imagination will not be eligible for future royalty payments under the current license and royalty agreement. “There are no parties with whom the Group has contractual or other arrangements which are essential to the business of the Group except the contract with Apple Inc,” according to Imagination’s 2023 annual report.
Surprisingly, Imagination claims Apple cannot develop bespoke mobile GPUs from scratch without violating its patents, intellectual property and confidential information. The company believe it would be “extremely challenging” to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights.
Accordingly, Imagination does not accept Apple’s assertions.
The wording of Imagination’s statement suggests Apple’s decision to ditch their technology took them by surprise, indicating that the breakup between the two companies is poised to get messy.
Since 2008, Apple’s been using customized versions of Imagination’s PowerVR designs under a licensing agreement. Imagination’s solutions power GPU cores in Apple’s A-series chips found inside iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and Apple TV devices which are sold to hundreds of millions of people around the world, paying the UK company an estimated $75+ million per year in licensing fees.
Apple currently owns 8.48 percent of Imagination shares and is its third-largest shareholder. It’s unclear whether or not Apple will seek to sell their shareholding in light of today’s development.
To replace lost Apple revenues, Imagination will need many design wins at other vendors. However, that would “take time and any near term beat from the Apple supercycle over the next twelve months will be overshadowed by this looming overhang,” Neil Campling, analyst at Northern Trust, told City A.M.
“And, if Apple believes there is essentially a work around made possible, then other smartphone designers will be evaluating the same,” Campaign added. Apple was reportedly interested in acquiring Imagination but ultimately decided against it.
Instead, it’s hired key talent away from the Hertfordshire-based company, including former COO John Metcalfe, Imagination’s 20-year veteran. Metcalfe has been working as a senior director at Apple since last July, his LinkedIn profile shows.
In October 2023, Apple hired Imagination’s VP of Hardware Engineering to be a director based in the United Kingdom. More than two-dozen engineers and managers have quit Imagination and gone on to work at Apple over the past two years.
In addition to developing mobile GPUs that companies like Apple and others license for use in their own system-on-a-chip designs, the UK company is behind Pure digital radios and also creates and licenses processor designs for video processing and communications.
Imagination was founded in 1985 and employs about 1,700 people, as per its website.
Source: Imagination Technologies
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Apple is looking to accelerate proprietary semiconductor development in order to differentiate itself from competition even further with products such as ARM-based processors for Mac notebooks, in-house designed iPhone modems and more.
A report Friday by the Japanese outlet Nikkei, citing analysts and industry sources in Asia, suggests that Apple is keen to expand its semiconductor capabilities further. Specifically, sources say Tim Cook & Co. are interested in “building core processors for notebooks, modem chips for iPhones and a chip that integrates touch, fingerprint and display driver functions.”
To that end, Apple’s apparently hired engineers from Taiwan’s leading display-driver chip designers Novatek and panel maker AU Optronics, according to an industry source.
While it currently dual-sources iPhone modem chips from Intel and Qualcomm, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Mark Li believes that “Apple has invested in research and development for baseband modem chips responsible for mobile communication.”
An excerpt from the article:
Li added it is was unlikely that Apple could quickly roll out such components within two years. Modem chips have a very high threshold to develop and need to fulfill requirements of different operators worldwide.
A veteran chip industry executive estimates that it would require more than a minimum one thousand engineers to work on such a project.
Earlier this year, the iPhone maker poached top Qualcomm modem chip engineer Esin Terzioglu to lead its wireless system-on-a-chip project. It would not be surprising that Apple develops its own modem chip, especially considering that Samsung’s in-house designed Exynos already integrates modem hardware.
Two industry sources added that Apple is also trying to cut its dependence on Intel when it comes to notebook chips and instead build those using ARM architecture.
Of course, Apple has been designing its own chips for years now.
It has designed iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch processors, wireless chips for AirPods and dedicated fingerprint silicon powering Touch ID in iOS devices and the new MacBook Pro. Those chips are mass manufactured using third-party foundry services from the likes of Samsung and TSMC. The company does not plan to operate its own semiconductor production facilities, industry sources said.
Research firm IC Insights ranked Apple the world’s fourth chip design house by revenue at the end of 2023, trailing only Qualcomm, Broadcom and Taiwan’s MediaTek.
“No matter if you are Apple or Google, in the era of artificial intelligence you will need to develop your own algorithms and software to fit your new applications and to build up your ecosystems that have as many partners in as many domains as possible,” said Shirley Tsai, an analyst at research company IDC.
Apple’s shown what can be achieved when you design highly optimized chips and the software around them, especially with the latest A11 Bionic chip in the new iPhones.
The A-series chips have allowed Apple to differentiate itself from others—hence why Android devices need more RAM and CPU cores to match the smoothness of iOS—and this is going to be even more important in the age of artificial intelligence.
Apple is already headed in that direction: the Neural engine in the A11 Bionic chip is its first dedicated dual-core CPU highly optimized for a specific set of machine learning algorithms.
A11 Bionic benchmarks courtesy of Tom’s Guide.
We’ve said before that an Apple-designed ARM processor for Mac notebooks is not a question of if, but when. While Apple’s own chips for high-end Mac desktops are not on the horizon yet, the A11 Bionic benchmarks have demonstrated that Apple could soon unveil a notebook powered by a proprietary ARM-based CPU design.
There is no longer any doubt that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions have become the preferred method for organizations of all sizes to acquire business applications to satisfy their escalating customer and end-user demands while keeping pace with intensifying competitive pressures.
But, the SaaS industry and its growing legion of enterprise customers are falling into the same software development and implementation traps that derailed the previous generation of on-premise, perpetual license ISVs who the leading SaaS vendors successfully disrupted over the past decade.Cloud Storage and Backup Benefits
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Gartner latest forecasts estimate that SaaS revenue worldwide will increase 20.1% in 2023, and jump from $46.3 billion at the end of this year to $75.7 billion by yearend 2023. Gartner says, “…more than 50 percent of new 2023 large-enterprise North American application adoptions will be composed of SaaS or other forms of cloud-based solutions.”
Although many SaaS deployments have taken longer than anticipated and entail specialized software development and systems integration skills to connect the new applications with legacy databases, most organizations have still been pleased with the operational efficiencies and additional functional capabilities delivered by the SaaS solutions.
As a result, many organizations are expanding their SaaS subscriptions to support additional workers, and adopting additional SaaS solutions to redesign more of their business processes. However, these organizations are often finding that their SaaS implementations are getting a lot more complicated.
There are two primary reasons SaaS deployments become harder rather than easier over time.
First, most organizations are customizing the SaaS solutions so they will support their existing operations.
And second, the SaaS vendors are more than happy to let their customers do as much customization work as they like because it locks the customers into the SaaS vendors’ solutions.
SaaS wasn’t supposed to work this way.
The pioneers in the SaaS market, such as chúng tôi have always promoted the virtues of a single version of their applications being able to address the common needs of their customers. But they have recognized that there are industry-specific requirements and other operational issues facing many organizations that demand specialized skills and SaaS products. As a consequence, today’s SaaS product portfolios are becoming as complicated as the previous generation of perpetual license software applications.
In fact, the market for SaaS/Cloud integration services has grown so rapidly that nearly all of the most prominent Cloud integrators founded over the past decade have been acquired by the biggest professional services companies in the world. Over the past two years, Accenture gobbled up Cloud Sherpas, IBM bought Bluewolf, and Appirio was acquired by Wipro.
Although everyone expects the rapidly evolving assortment of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to automate various aspects of software development, deployment and support, the reality is that most organizations need a new set of experts to help them evaluate, implement and administer these new solutions in their environments. In response, chúng tôi and a handful of venture firms are establishing dedicated investment funds to support the next generation of AI/ML oriented systems integrators.
If this trend continues, the SaaS industry could face a significant speedbump in the future and independent systems integrators will be the only winners in this environment.
About the author:
Jeffrey Kaplan in the founder and Managing Director of THINKstrategies.
Galaxy S6: pulling Samsung up by its own bootstraps
It’s called codename Project Zero, they say, and it’ll change the way the Samsung Galaxy line has been evolving over the past several years. If the Samsung Galaxy S III was Samsung’s coming of age, the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be a revolution. Of design, mostly – not so much on the specifications. We’re in a stagnated state of affairs in the smartphone business across the board, after all. It’s the physical design of the smartphone that’ll be changing, not necessarily the experience.
What does Samsung need to do to retain their spot as the top Android-based smartphone company? They need to leverage their already-massive name in the business to make the public believe in something abstract.
Not another flat design – not another egg button up front and centered, one-flash at the back. Not another standard plastic battery cover.
Not necessarily a full metal jacket, either.
According to SamMobile, Samsung’s next project is called “Project Zero.” Like the “Next Big Thing” will take Samsung out a whole new door.
Samsung’s previous several generations have been codenamed similarly:
Project J (Galaxy S4)
Project H (Galaxy Note 3)
Project K (Galaxy S5)
Project T (Galaxy Note 4)
With a Project 0 on the books, it could be that Samsung is motivating its designers to change their entire Galaxy playbook up for 2023. A couple of model numbers have already leaked:
• Zero US – AT&T SM-G925A_NA_ATT
• Zero EUR – OPEN SM-G925F_EUR_XX
• Zero US – T-MOBILE (US) SM-G925T_NA_TMB
• Zero US – US CELLULAR SM-G925R4_NA_USC
• Zero US – VERIZON SM-G925V_NA_VZW
Specifications for this next-generation device include the following – note that they’re all rumored at this point, of course, but that they’re not out of the realm of possibility. They’re all well within the bounds of a yearly upgrade.
Display: ?-inch 2560 x 1440 (QuadHD, aka 2K)Camera (back): 16-megapixel, OIS, 4K recordingCamera (front): 5-megapixelProcessor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 inside USA, Exynos 7420 outside – both 64-bitOS: Android 5.0 LollipopStorage: 32, 64, 128GB internalMicro-SD: 128GB microSD/SDHC slot
Consider the Galaxy Note 4 as a basic model for the next-generation. Even though it’s suggested this model Galaxy S6 will be a rebirth of the device, of sorts, clues can be found when you get up close and personal with the Galaxy Note 4.
The slight indent before the tops and bottoms of the edges on the Galaxy Note show Samsung is getting more detailed.
The back-facing edges around the camera lens and the flash/sensor show Samsung is prepared to work with comforting, pillowy movements in design.
The slight wave in the body of the Galaxy Note 4 again reinforce the fact that Samsung is allowing itself to create tiny details – not just flat lines.
While Samsung moved to a more “nature inspired” device with the Galaxy S III, then to a flatter designs for the 4 and the 5, we’d not be surprised at something a bit rounder by this time next year. Or a whole lot earlier, if Samsung’s schedule between the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 is any precedent.
Apple just unveiled its much rumored wearable product live on stage during its press event this morning giving us a first look at its entrance into the smartwatch market. The device is officially called Apple Watch, pairs with iPhone, and sports an all-new user interface that is quite a departure from anything we’ve seen on other iOS devices.
It’s driven Apple from the beginning. This compulsion to take incredibly powerful technology, and make it accessible, relevant, and ultimately, personal.”– Jony Ive
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the Apple Watch is that Apple is using a traditional watch dial on the side of the device as an input mechanism for navigating the device. That “Digital Crown” allows you to scroll, zoom, and navigate through the device without obscuring the display like a touchscreen smartwatch. The crown also acts as the device’s Home button. While Apple is focusing on using the Digital Crown dial for navigation, the device is capable of detecting touch input on the display and includes haptic feedback capabilities with a “Taptic Engine” feature. In addition, Apple Watch detects when users lift their wrists to activate the display. Here’s a look at the Apple Watch home screen:
The screen is a Retina display that Apple notes is “laminated to a single crystal of sapphire, the hardest transparent material after diamond.” Other specs in Apple Watch include a gyroscope and accelerometer, while GPS functionality comes from a wirelessly-connected iPhone. Apple also said it’s including infrared and visible-light LEDs, along with photosensors that will detect pulse rate and other data. Apple didn’t go over specifics for battery life but did note it’s using an inductive wireless charging solution pictured in the gallery below.
Apple showed off a few of Apple Watch’s stock apps during the event including things you’d expect, like music control for a connected iOS device or Mac, notifications (with haptic feedback), and the ability to swap out watch faces. Haptic feedback plays into interesting new messaging features that let users tap and draw to communicate. For instance, the feature lets users capture and send their heartbeat to one another.
It also showed off integration with iOS devices and Mac to curate content that appears on the device, for example, favoriting photos on other devices make them available to view on Apple Watch. Apple also demoed navigation on the device with walking directions that use haptic feedback to notify users for turn-by-turn directions:
As expected, fitness is also a big part of the Apple Watch software with dedicated Fitness and Workout apps that include features for tracking fitness metrics and sharing that data with the Health app in iOS 8. The device also works with the company’s new Apple Pay payment solution.
Apple is making the device open to third-party developers as well (many of which have already created experiences) through an SDK for developers. Apple noted a few apps today including BMW, Pinterest, Facebook, MLB, Honeywell, Nike, and others that are already developing apps for Apple Watch.
Apple Watch will arrive in three models– Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition– with various sizing options and unique features for each. For instance, the Apple Watch Sport models feature a plastic band and aluminum body, while the Apple Watch Edition features high-end materials like 18k gold. The standard Apple Watch features stainless steel with plastic, leather, or steel bands. Apple Watch works with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5.
Apple Watch will start at $350. Full details on pricing and availability are here.Apple Unveils Apple Watch—Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever
“Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”
“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization.”
Apple Watch introduces a revolutionary design and iOS-based user interface created specifically for a smaller device. Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri®. The Retina® display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access controls within apps. Apple Watch introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. Apple custom-designed its own S1 SiP (System in Package) to miniaturize an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.
Apple Watch comes in three distinct collections—Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition—available in two different sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm. The beautifully designed and durable enclosures are crafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel, space gray or silver anodized aluminum and 18-karat rose or yellow gold. Apple also created an entire range of watch straps: the high-performance elastomer Sport Band; the Milanese Loop in a flexible magnetic stainless steel mesh; the Leather Loop in soft, quilted leather that conceals magnets for quick fastening and adjustment; the leather Modern Buckle, which closes with a solid metal clasp; the leather Classic Buckle; and the stainless steel Link Bracelet. Apple Watch comes with a unique charging system that combines Apple’s MagSafe® technology with inductive charging for a quick connection that snaps into place.
Apple Watch is an extremely accurate timepiece that’s also customizable for personal expression. Apple Watch comes with 11 watch faces ranging from traditional analog faces to new faces like the dynamic Timelapse face; the Astronomy face with its interactive, real-time 3D model of the earth, sun, moon and planets; and the Solar face, a contemporary sundial. Apple Watch can be personalized in appearance and capability with additional information such as upcoming events, moonphases or your activity level, enabling millions of possible configurations.
Apple Watch includes a groundbreaking Activity app designed to help motivate you to be more active throughout the day, and an all-new Workout app designed to provide the metrics you need during dedicated workout sessions. Apple Watch uses the accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone to provide a comprehensive picture of your daily activity. The Activity app measures three separate aspects of movement: calories burned, brisk activity and how often you stand up during the day. The Workout app provides goal-setting and pacing during popular session-based workouts, such as running and cycling. The companion Fitness app on iPhone collects your activity data so you can see your activity history in greater detail. Apple Watch uses this history to suggest personal, realistic goals, reward fitness milestones and keep you motivated.
Apple introduces WatchKit, providing new tools and APIs for developers to create unique experiences designed for the wrist. With Apple Watch, developers can create WatchKit apps with actionable notifications and Glances that provide timely information. Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch.
Apple Watch will be available in three collections. Apple Watch, with a polished or space black stainless steel case and a choice of straps; Apple Watch Sport, with a space gray or silver anodized aluminum case and Sport Band; and Apple Watch Edition, with an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case and a choice of straps exclusive to this collection. Apple Watch straps include the Sport Band in black, blue, green, pink and white; the Classic Buckle in black and midnight blue; the Leather Loop in bright blue, light brown and stone; the Modern Buckle in midnight blue, brown, soft pink, rose gray and bright red; the Milanese Loop in stainless steel; and the Link Bracelet in brushed stainless steel and polished space black. Apple Watch will be available in early 2023 starting at $349 (US). Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8.
* Apple Pay is only available in the US.
Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, Apple Watch, iPod, iPhone, Multi-Touch, Siri, Retina, MagSafe, Apple Pay, Passbook and Apple TV are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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The Chinese navy is taking arsenal ships in a new direction—as giant submersibles. Post-Cold War naval theorists have long dreamed of recreating the old battleships’ power through massive “arsenal ships,” or warships carrying hundreds of guided missiles that could fire at land and sea targets. Now it looks like China wants to make that dream a reality.
In Between the Tides and the Seabed
Professor Dong Wen Cai, the late Chinese hydrodynamics expert, shows a sketch of a submersible major combatant, with a flat hull and mid-hull steering fins.
Stories circulating on Chinese websites—including the Wuhan city government site—mention that Chinese institutions are conducting studies on gigantic submersible arsenal ships.
What’s the big deal about an underwater arsenal vessel? Well submerging all or even most of a large warship would reduce its radar and visual signature, as well as protect it against most missile threats.
This computer-generated line drawing of the Chinese waveskimmer shows hull-mounted fins that allow for maneuverability and underwater (and semi-submerged) operation. It appears to also be capable of hydroplaning.
There are two concepts in circulation: one is a high-speed warship with much of its hull submerged but otherwise has a functional superstructure with defense weapons and radar, the other is almost completely submerged arsenal ship with two conning towers. The scale of the designs are significant; either ship would displace roughly about 20,000 tons at full load.
The submersible warship has four stages: submerged, partial exposure of the superstructure, raising the hull to the ‘waterline’ and as a low draft, and operating as a high-speed hydroplane.
Reports claim there has been substantial design work and concept proofing for this underwater arsenal ship. Even on his deathbed, leading naval engineer Professor Dong Wei Cai continued to work on a key aspect of the arsenal ship design: the high-speed wave hydroplane.
For stealth operations, the arsenal ship would have most of its hull inherently submerged, with only the bridge and a few other parts of the ship above the waterline, reducing the radar cross section. But when traveling with a high-speed naval taskforce, the arsenal ship will sacrifice stealth to use its flat hull bottom to hydroplane at high speeds, cutting across the waves like a speedboat or amphibious armored vehicle.
An arsenal ship can rely on the carrier’s airwing and surface warship escorts to protect it against airborne threats, while providing the carrier group hundreds of extra missile launchers holding anything from air-defense rockets to land-attack cruise missiles.
The second design is more conventional, it is essentially a giant, conventionally propelled submarine with two conning towers stuffed with snorkels, periscopes, and communications antennae. Given its need to keep up with high-speed surface ships and its lack of high-speed endurance underwater, this arsenal ship design would operate similarly to WWII submarines; the majority of its voyage will take place on the surface, and will submerge only during combat and under attack.
While a 4-meter-long, 1-ton scale model of the high-speed submersible has been undergoing tests and is even shown on state television, no complete picture of the demonstrator has been shown, with only partial photos being released to the public.
Chinese research institutes have been testing sub-models of both arsenal ship configurations since 2011, including open-water tests for the hydroplane arsenal ship and laboratory tests for the arsenal submarine. Unverified rumors on the Chinese internet claim that a full-scale, proof-of-concept is under construction at Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industrial Corporation, to be launched after 2023.You may also be interested in:
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