News is still coming out about the surprise that Apple’s switching-graphics technology is in fact not NVidia Optimus but a wholly Apple-grown technology. Ars Technica got some info from Apple about the technology on how exactly it differs, and why they consider it superior:
Apple’s approach in the new 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pros differs from Optimus in two key ways. The first is that the switching is all handled automatically by Mac OS X without any user intervention (though there is actually a System Preference to deactivate it, if you choose). Apps that use advanced graphics frameworks such as OpenGL, Core Graphics, Quartz Composer or others will cause the OS to trigger the discrete GPU. So, when you are reading or writing Mail, or editing an Excel spreadsheet, Mac OS X will simply use the integrated Intel HD graphics. If you fire up Aperture or Photoshop, Mac OS X kicks on the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M.
The second way that it differs from Optimus is that the integrated graphics are powered down when the discrete GPU is active. This saves even more power than Optimus does, leading to a stated battery life as long as nine hours.
One interesting detail I had not thought of before is that in Optimus, when the Discrete GPU is enabled, the integrated GPU is still powered up and in fact being used, the framebuffer is simply being ignored. This means when you are using the discrete (eg. Fast) graphics, you wind up communicating to both GPU’s simultaneously, wasting (albeit a tiny amount) of power and adding a lot of extra communication to the system bus.
A friend tipped me off to this interesting tidbit on the new Apple MacBook Pro features page. Read it closely (bold added for emphasis):
The 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models come standard with automatic graphics switching. It’s a breakthrough technology from Apple that switches graphics processors on the fly to give you performance when you need it (when you’re playing the latest 3D game, for example) and better battery efficiency when you don’t (such as when you’re reading email). MacBook Pro transfers the workload between the powerful discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics processor and integrated Intel HD Graphics so seamlessly, you won’t even notice.
You be the judge. Find a complete copy of the page after the break (In case Apple changes it).
Update 1pm: I just heard from people inside NVidia that Apple is not using NVidia’s Optimus technology in these laptops, but rather has built their own custom solution. Few details exists right now about it, but I’m very curious to know how it stacks up against the new ASUS laptops performance-wise.
Apple quietly took down their online store this morning, well as quietly as Apple can do anything with the intense scrutiny they find themselves under, and when it came back we were blessed with new MacBook Pros sporting the new Core i5 and Core i7 processors.
“The new MacBook Pro is as advanced on the inside as it is stunning on the outside,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With faster processors, amazing graphics and up to three more hours of battery life, the new MacBook Pro delivers both performance and efficiency.”
What I find most exciting is that the new Macbook Pros include NVidia Optimus technology Switchable Graphics, switching between integrated graphics and the NVidia GeForce GT330M (256M or 512M RAM). The Optimus technology is only available in the 15″ and 17″ models, but it’s still a very welcome addition to the lineup.
Update 1pm: I just received new information from NVidia that this is not Optimus technology, but rather an Apple-built custom solution. Read more information here.
A few lucky people already have iPads in their grubby hands, while several more will be lining up at Apple Stores across the US this weekend for a chance to see or buy one of their one.
Gigaom takes a look at the numbers behind the iPad pre-orders in an attempt to see just how many fistfuls of cash Steve Jobs will be carrying around from this “revolution”. Sadly, the infographic has little numerical information beyond the Morgan & Stanley estimates of 9-million units sold in the first year, and an information GigaOm poll of “Will you buy the iPad”?
Apple has been selling computers in one fashion or another since 1976, with varying degrees of success. Given the over 30 years of history, what is the relative price of the earlier Apple products (The Apple I, the Apple Lisa, the Newton), in relation to current products like the iPad? VoucherCodes.co.uk took it upon themselves to find out.
Looking back through the archives, to the launch of the first Apple computer in 1976, we’ve worked out how much it would cost to buy each of Apple’s new major product releases today – accounting for inflation.
So, is the iPad as good value as Steve Jobs would like us to believe? We’ll let you make your own mind up.
Transparent House has created an impressive 2-minute presentation video chronicling the 34-year product history of Apple from the original Apple 1 to the new iPad, entirely in CG.
The animation was done entirely using 3Ds Max and V-Ray render and took about 10 days to complete. Professionally done 3D visualization is the perfect tool to present concepts or new products in a beautiful, photoreal style, while creating a mood with music and conveying a message, through on-screen text or narration.
Some beautiful work for only 10 days, and should definitely stand as a great example of product presentation. See the video below.
Ever since news of NVidia’s Optimus came out, people have been speculating about it coming to Apple MacBooks. AppleInsider’s Kasper Jade talked to some Apple Insiders and found that the next generation of MacBook will take the current manual switching technology to an automatic switching technology.
More specifically, the Mac maker has up and running in its labs several next-generation MacBook Pros that can switch between their integrated and discrete graphics processors automatically, according to people familiar with the matter.
While those privy to Apple’s plans could not say with complete certainty that the new technology would qualify for inclusion in the most immediate update to the MacBook Pro family, they do believe that’s indeed the Cupertino-based company’s plans. The current chipset situation Apple faces across its notebook lines also lends support to these claims.
Given Apple’s previous close relationship with NVidia, it’s no stretch to believe that Optimus is what’s under the hood here. If it is, I guess I need to start saving now for an upgrade.
PS: Steve, if you’re out there, I would be willing to sacrifice some time to review a unit :)
Retrevo, an electronics marketplace, randomly surveyed 1,000 of its users before the iPad announcement and then again after the iPad announcement. They then took this data and graphed it using a few pie charts. Apparently Retrevo users have changed their minds from before the announcement to after the announcement. Fewer are willing to buy the iPad, or even think that they need it. Since they only surveyed their users, the data may not be indicative of the general population of the United States. Such mistakes have been made before, with hilarious results.
The Register has an article posted today that speculates that the iPad may be outfitted with a camera in future versions. Their speculation is backed up by a patent application that Apple has submitted. The patent is for an image capturing device (that is, a camera) with a touch screen being used to adjust the settings on the camera. Furthermore, The Register links to a blog where the author shows some replacement parts for the iPad. If this turns out to be true, then this would remove one of the major shortcomings from the iPad. From the article:
They received a metal internal iPad frame with what appeared to be a “spot” for a camera, which, when tested with a standard camera unit taken from a Unibody MacBook, it slotted neatly into the gap.
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