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Apple officially asks GPU developers to stop caring about Mac OS X and iOS

QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,664
https://www.anandtech.com/show/12894/apple-deprecates-opengl-across-all-oses

A while ago, it was peculiar when Apple declined to support Vulkan.  Now they're deprecating support for OpenGL, OpenGL ES, and OpenCL, and both on Mac OS X and iOS.  Instead, they want developers to use Metal.

That's pretty much the end of cross-platform support for anything GPU-related.  Now you get a choice of supporting Apple OSes or supporting everything else.  If anyone out there finds that a non-trivial decision, I'd like to recommend going with "everything else".
laxieMendelTigsKCtomahawk1930[Deleted User]
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Comments

  • laxielaxie Member RarePosts: 1,071
    How difficult is it to deploy on Metal using the common game engines (Unreal / Unity)? Is this something you only need to worry about if you want advanced features or tight optimisation?

    Do you think this announcement will lead to less games on Mac OS?
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 4,242
    Peculiar.  It almost seems that Apple wants to do everything for themselves, even more than ever.  I expect it is just more of the 'we know better' corporate attitude.  I can't see this doing anything but making game software on the Mac OS even more costly and slower to market.  I don't see this decision helping the customers in any way.




    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,664
    laxie said:
    How difficult is it to deploy on Metal using the common game engines (Unreal / Unity)? Is this something you only need to worry about if you want advanced features or tight optimisation?

    Do you think this announcement will lead to less games on Mac OS?
    In principle, they could develop everything twice:  one for Apple and once for everyone else.  But this makes debugging massively harder, as you now have not merely two slightly different branches here and there, but two completely independent code paths written in different APIs entirely.  Trying to get two completely independent code paths written in different APIs to reliably do the same thing in ways that will won't cause all sorts of things to break in weird for game developers who use your engine sounds to me like a very difficult problem.  Making them both work in exactly the same way is much harder than getting them to both work in reasonable but not necessarily identical ways.

    This would also cripple game developers who use the game engines, as if they want to add support for something not built into the engine directly, then now they have their own case of the two independent code paths problem.

    That's not to say that it can't be done.  In principle, it doesn't have to be any worse than making the "same" game available on PS4, Xbox One, Windows, and Android.  But those all have large market share in games (though for Android, in a different sense than the others), which can provide a payoff that porting to Apple doesn't.  Still, how many games are available both on Android and PS4?  And even if a game is available on Windows, PS4, and Xbox One, we don't always think of it as being the "same" game, as the differences will tend to be much larger than if the same game is available on both Windows and Linux.

    Still, if you're a game engine developer trying for cross-platform support, how hard do you really want to work to get something working on a Mac when Apple is officially trying to kill your cross-platform support?  Get something working today and they might go out of their way to break it tomorrow.

    As for less games on Mac OS, it could plausibly herald nearly the end of gaming on Mac OS.  Mac OS already isn't much of a gaming platform, but this is a huge blow.  I don't just mean not many new games coming.  It's very possible that Apple removes support in the future so that most games that run fine today completely stop working in the future.  It wouldn't make sense to deprecate the widely used APIs if you're going to keep supporting them for another decade.
    laxieGladDogPhry
  • TillerTiller Member EpicPosts: 9,029
    I think Apple just wants their identity back. Rather than compete with everyone else over the same technology they want to develop their own unique platform and software. Cool for them I guess but unless apple can do things better than PC in all aspects, it really comes down how much you love Apple over everything else.
    SWG Bloodfin vet
    Elder Jedi/Elder Bounty Hunter
     
  • jonp200jonp200 Member UncommonPosts: 456
    I was very open-minded about Apple.  I build my own PCs but own an iMac that I used for music production and graphic design.  The reality with Apple is you pay for overpriced hardware and a really closed system in terms of support or upgrades.  That iMac I own?  Big beautiful display that is essentially driven by a notebook-class video card.

    Try gaming on a Mac either native or in Bootcamp?  Deeply unsatisfying.  Apple's decision to wall in their infrastructure?  Good luck with that but in their defense, they aren't appealing to most of us.  They sold over 52 MM iPhones in Q2 this year, 9.1 MM iPads, and 4 MM Macs. Clear where their focus is.  With all of that said, they grew revenues 20% worldwide; more in Europe than the US so you have to give them props.

    By the way, my iMac is currently sitting in the closet and I bought my last iPhone a few years ago.  Rocking a LG Moto X now for a phone;  I love it.  $225 retail and I got a 2nd one for free on my Project Fi account.  I'll not pay nearly a grand for a phone....
    TigsKC

    Seaspite
    Playing ESO on my X-Box


  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,146
    edited June 2018
    Well, for the longest time (maybe forever), Apple has written their own drivers. And GPU manufacturers (short of Imagination, which greatly cared) have pretty much ignored Apple forever - there's been a nonexistent aftermarket for Apple GPUs, Apple tightly controls what goes in at manufacture and drives those contracts hard, and Apple doesn't have a large PC marketshare in the first place to make it much worthwhile to compete very hard for those contracts.  

    It's only been for a few corner cases, such as CUDA, that GPU vendor-provided drivers were even needed.

    This has nothing to do with cross-platform GPU selection. Apple can still chose to use whatever they want, and they will continue to provide their own drivers. Just as they always have.

    It makes a big difference to software developers though. A lot of gaming titles on OS X used OpenGL. I wonder if a DirectX (or OpenGL) to Metal conversion layer exists somewhere.... my guess is that it probably already does - maybe not runtime conversion, but at least at the API/Source Code level.

    And it's not like Metal doesn't have some level of adoption - pretty much every iOS game uses it, and as much as a PC-oriented site like this one may reject the notion, the iOS gaming market is pretty freakin' big. Apple App Store annual gaming revenue is about the same as all the large gaming publishers (EA, Activision/Blizzard, Ubisoft, etc) - added together.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,664
    By the title, I meant people who write software that runs on GPUs, not manufacturers of GPU hardware.  But yes, I can see how it was ambiguous as stated.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505
    edited June 2018
    Fuck Apple, I always liked Oreos better as a kid anyways.  That's called foreshadowing! (Get it?  Oreo, Android OS...  Apple, a fruit...  right??? :D)
    laxieGladDog[Deleted User]

    image
  • btdtbtdt Member RarePosts: 523
    The grand dream that Steve had was to make porting from one OS to another easier.  That dream died with him.  Partially because Microsoft failed to create it's own UNIX core OS despite having tried.  Since we still don't have a common ground between platforms (only OSX and Linux share a common ground), porting is still as problematic as ever.

    So Apple said fuck it and went back to their old ways.  Closed ecosystem it will be.  We'll created our own graphics API that only works on our systems.  Windows can keep their DirectX and have all the desktop games... but we, we will dominate the mobile market because everyone will be running iOS.  iOS on their watches, iOS on their tablets, iOS on their phones.  And what a lucrative market it will be.

    The money is no longer in desktops.  It's in mobile.  And mobile is where Apple has put 100% of their focus.  
    TigsKCRidelynnOzmodanDaranar
  • RenoakuRenoaku Member EpicPosts: 3,141
    edited June 2018
    Who even uses apple these days lol all I hear is two factions in the NWO, Microsoft leaking stuff to Government vs Apple that Values privacy, but if one really doesn't care about big brother I've always used Microsoft.
  • laxielaxie Member RarePosts: 1,071
    It sounds like Apple is doubling down on the non-gaming segment with this move. I wonder how many Mac owners would have bought Windows if Mac couldn't run games at all. Perhaps it is a low enough number to justify focusing on Metal.

    In the UK, people only ever buy Mac for work. You wouldn't buy it as a gaming (or even semi-gaming) computer. If gaming is anywhere on your list of priorities, you'd opt for something else. Is this true for the US market as well?
    Phry
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505
    edited June 2018
    btdt said:
    The grand dream that Steve had was to make porting from one OS to another easier.  That dream died with him.  Partially because Microsoft failed to create it's own UNIX core OS despite having tried.  Since we still don't have a common ground between platforms (only OSX and Linux share a common ground), porting is still as problematic as ever.

    So Apple said fuck it and went back to their old ways.  Closed ecosystem it will be.  We'll created our own graphics API that only works on our systems.  Windows can keep their DirectX and have all the desktop games... but we, we will dominate the mobile market because everyone will be running iOS.  iOS on their watches, iOS on their tablets, iOS on their phones.  And what a lucrative market it will be.

    The money is no longer in desktops.  It's in mobile.  And mobile is where Apple has put 100% of their focus.  
    For video gaming, mobile will have a great spot, but I highly doubt it will supplant a dedicated desktop experience until the device itself becomes a plug and play desktop experience when convenient for the user.

    As of 2017, Statista reports that devs favor developing for mobile only over AR devices (lol), Xbone (Lol), and Mac (LOL).

    That's because, despite all the advancements, mobile devices still can't hold a candle to the experience you can create or enjoy on other dedicated devices, specifically one as powerful as a PC.

    The lack of tactile response prevalent in most smartphones these days is hamstringing the mobile video game industry.  Devs don't wanna develop for a platform that's exponentially more of a headache to design for than PCs or gaming consoles are.  There's a reason touchpad keyboards aren't all the rage in PC accessories.  Tactile response is hugely important for things like twitch gaming, which drives the industry in general (shooters being over 25% of industry share in 2017 per ESA report).

    So Apple, at least in this industry, is pretty much accepting they won't get traction competing with PCs or consoles.  They're absolutely doubling down on the mobile revenue.
    RhomsPhry

    image
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,664
    btdt said:
    The grand dream that Steve had was to make porting from one OS to another easier.  That dream died with him.  Partially because Microsoft failed to create it's own UNIX core OS despite having tried.  Since we still don't have a common ground between platforms (only OSX and Linux share a common ground), porting is still as problematic as ever.

    So Apple said fuck it and went back to their old ways.  Closed ecosystem it will be.  We'll created our own graphics API that only works on our systems.  Windows can keep their DirectX and have all the desktop games... but we, we will dominate the mobile market because everyone will be running iOS.  iOS on their watches, iOS on their tablets, iOS on their phones.  And what a lucrative market it will be.

    The money is no longer in desktops.  It's in mobile.  And mobile is where Apple has put 100% of their focus.  
    For video gaming, mobile will have a great spot, but I highly doubt it will supplant a dedicated desktop experience until the device itself becomes a plug and play desktop experience when convenient for the user.

    As of 2017, Statista reports that devs favor developing for mobile only over AR devices (lol), Xbone (Lol), and Mac (LOL).

    That's because, despite all the advancements, mobile devices still can't hold a candle to the experience you can create or enjoy on other dedicated devices, specifically one as powerful as a PC.

    The lack of tactile response prevalent in most smartphones these days is hamstringing the mobile video game industry.  Devs don't wanna develop for a platform that's exponentially more of a headache to design for than PCs or gaming consoles are.  There's a reason touchpad keyboards aren't all the rage in PC accessories.  Tactile response is hugely important for things like twitch gaming, which drives the industry in general (shooters being over 25% of industry share in 2017 per ESA report).

    So Apple, at least in this industry, is pretty much accepting they won't get traction competing with PCs or consoles.  They're absolutely doubling down on the mobile revenue.
    Apple isn't doubling down on anything here.  This is about what they're abandoning, not an announcement of adding anything new.  There's no reason why they couldn't support Metal and Vulkan and OpenGL and OpenGL ES and OpenCL.  Other than Vulkan, they officially supported all of those as of yesterday.  And other than Metal, AMD and Nvidia support all of those plus a bunch of others.
    Phry
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505
    edited June 2018
    Quizzical said:
    btdt said:
    The grand dream that Steve had was to make porting from one OS to another easier.  That dream died with him.  Partially because Microsoft failed to create it's own UNIX core OS despite having tried.  Since we still don't have a common ground between platforms (only OSX and Linux share a common ground), porting is still as problematic as ever.

    So Apple said fuck it and went back to their old ways.  Closed ecosystem it will be.  We'll created our own graphics API that only works on our systems.  Windows can keep their DirectX and have all the desktop games... but we, we will dominate the mobile market because everyone will be running iOS.  iOS on their watches, iOS on their tablets, iOS on their phones.  And what a lucrative market it will be.

    The money is no longer in desktops.  It's in mobile.  And mobile is where Apple has put 100% of their focus.  
    For video gaming, mobile will have a great spot, but I highly doubt it will supplant a dedicated desktop experience until the device itself becomes a plug and play desktop experience when convenient for the user.

    As of 2017, Statista reports that devs favor developing for mobile only over AR devices (lol), Xbone (Lol), and Mac (LOL).

    That's because, despite all the advancements, mobile devices still can't hold a candle to the experience you can create or enjoy on other dedicated devices, specifically one as powerful as a PC.

    The lack of tactile response prevalent in most smartphones these days is hamstringing the mobile video game industry.  Devs don't wanna develop for a platform that's exponentially more of a headache to design for than PCs or gaming consoles are.  There's a reason touchpad keyboards aren't all the rage in PC accessories.  Tactile response is hugely important for things like twitch gaming, which drives the industry in general (shooters being over 25% of industry share in 2017 per ESA report).

    So Apple, at least in this industry, is pretty much accepting they won't get traction competing with PCs or consoles.  They're absolutely doubling down on the mobile revenue.
    Apple isn't doubling down on anything here.  This is about what they're abandoning, not an announcement of adding anything new.  There's no reason why they couldn't support Metal and Vulkan and OpenGL and OpenGL ES and OpenCL.  Other than Vulkan, they officially supported all of those as of yesterday.  And other than Metal, AMD and Nvidia support all of those plus a bunch of others.
    That was the point though, by deprecating, they're choosing not to pursue the support.  I'm not saying they're adding anything, I'm saying they currently have a really good mobile plroduct and, in reference to the video game industry, revenue is growing there exponentially.  Apple gets a cut of that through the store.

    They seem to be content with only having a major video game presence in terms of fielding a major smartphone presence.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a good idea (for consumers).  I just think Apple is content to only share in that slice of the gaming pie in any major way.

    image
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,664
    edited June 2018
    Ridelynn said:
    And it's not like Metal doesn't have some level of adoption - pretty much every iOS game uses it,
    Are you sure about that?  While I haven't followed it closely, I thought that mobile was mostly OpenGL ES.  Certainly if you wanted to make an Android version of the same game, I'd think that would be the way to go.  Or had Apple already so broken compatibility that most mobile games already have to either pick between Android and iOS or redevelop a ton of stuff twice?
    Phrykjempff
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,146
    People just don't use OS X to game on. People may buy Apple computers and happen to play a game once in a while, but you don't buy one just to game on in the same vein that a lot of us here buy/build computers specifically for gaming.

    There was a point in time where Apple pursued gaming semi-seriously. They actually created a console once upon a time (Bandai Pippin). Steve Jobs famously introduced the world to Halo, not Microsoft.

    But those were all a long time ago. Apple still does court gaming developers on iOS, but iOS hasn't ever supported the full OpenGL spec (only the ES version, which probably stands for Extra Stupid), and has had Metal for a good while now (iOS 8 in 2014). A year later, Metal was migrated to OS X. Apple buys engineers and hardware to create their own mobile silicon. They take whatever they can find for cheap/energy efficient for their OS X lines, and haven't updated a lot of their computer lines for several years. That pretty much shows the "gaming" priorities of Apple.

    Metal was intended to be a Vulkan/DX12 competitor.

    So I don't know of anyone who ever bought a Macintosh for gaming purposes.. unless that game is Marathon or Oregon Trail. 

    News of OpenGL retiring has much more impact on Adobe/Autodesk/Quark, and to some extent . It has no impact on nVidia/AMD. It only has an extremely low impact on gaming: Steam Hardware survey shows OS X has 3% share, which does beat out Linux, but it's still so low as to be pretty insignificant. That, and the fact that anyone who still wants Apple hardware and wants to game semi-seriously has had the option of Bootcamp for a long while now. While OpenGL has an impact on Gaming, OS X does not, and this news just isn't really going to affect gaming at all.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,664
    edited June 2018
    Ridelynn said:

    But those were all a long time ago. Apple still does court gaming developers on iOS, but iOS hasn't ever supported the full OpenGL spec (only the ES version, which probably stands for Extra Stupid), and has had Metal for a good while now (iOS 8 in 2014). A year later, Metal was migrated to OS X. Apple buys engineers and hardware to create their own mobile silicon. They take whatever they can find for cheap/energy efficient for their OS X lines, and haven't updated a lot of their computer lines for several years. That pretty much shows the "gaming" priorities of Apple.

    Metal was intended to be a Vulkan/DX12 competitor.

    OpenGL ES is basically a subset of OpenGL.  There's a ton of accumulated cruft in the OpenGL specification, and the point of OpenGL ES is to have a lot less of it.  Basically, support all the stuff that gets used much without having to also support weird things that hardly anyone uses.

    I haven't looked at the Metal API, but I have looked at Vulkan.  When they say Vulkan gives you lower level access to stuff, they mean it.  It's intended for the hard-core developers who are serious about extracting every last ounce of performance out of hardware, and not really appropriate for most developers making a game on a budget of a few million dollars.  If Metal tries to do that, too, without having some higher level version of it to cover up a bunch of stuff and make it not really a competitor to Vulkan, then it's hard to imagine it being used all that broadly.
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,146
    There is a reason they named it Metal in the first place.
  • OzmodanOzmodan Member EpicPosts: 9,726
    btdt said:
    The grand dream that Steve had was to make porting from one OS to another easier.  That dream died with him.  Partially because Microsoft failed to create it's own UNIX core OS despite having tried.  Since we still don't have a common ground between platforms (only OSX and Linux share a common ground), porting is still as problematic as ever.

    So Apple said fuck it and went back to their old ways.  Closed ecosystem it will be.  We'll created our own graphics API that only works on our systems.  Windows can keep their DirectX and have all the desktop games... but we, we will dominate the mobile market because everyone will be running iOS.  iOS on their watches, iOS on their tablets, iOS on their phones.  And what a lucrative market it will be.

    The money is no longer in desktops.  It's in mobile.  And mobile is where Apple has put 100% of their focus.  
    Thanks for my morning laugh.  Apple can have all their mobile revenue.  In all their mobile games there is not one decent one.   I stopped trying IOS games long ago.  Even the kids rarely use any of their IOS devices for games anymore.  Apple can have their market, with this move they are kissing goodbye to any nonmobile developer wasting time porting their game over to using Metal.
  • DaranarDaranar Member UncommonPosts: 390
    Ridelynn said:


    News of OpenGL retiring has much more impact on Adobe/Autodesk/Quark, and to some extent . It has no impact on nVidia/AMD. It only has an extremely low impact on gaming: Steam Hardware survey shows OS X has 3% share, which does beat out Linux, but it's still so low as to be pretty insignificant. That, and the fact that anyone who still wants Apple hardware and wants to game semi-seriously has had the option of Bootcamp for a long while now. While OpenGL has an impact on Gaming, OS X does not, and this news just isn't really going to affect gaming at all.
    This.   This is going to have a huge impact on content creators.  It doesn't make sense to me.  I know so many editors who are already abandoning OSX because FCP is falling behind.  Now with this... I have to be missing something because I don't know how they can stay competitive in content creation performance after this.  And that's kinda what OSX has always been big on.

    Apple doesn't care about desktop gaming.   Why should they?  They don't have a respectable market share before this, so who cares.  But as you said, this has a much bigger impact on content creators.

    If I want a world in which people can purchase success and power with cash, I'll play Real Life. Keep Virtual Worlds Virtual!


  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,297
    Apple wants to make themselves irrelevant again.
    Ozmodan
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,146
    Daranar said:


    Apple doesn't care about desktop gaming.   Why should they?  They don't have a respectable market share before this, so who cares.  But as you said, this has a much bigger impact on content creators.
    This news, combine with the hardware they are letting languish - the Mac Pro, the Mini, any type of upgradeable form factor, MBP with significant GPU - it makes me think they really do want to just leave all the entire professional market behind.

    I guess it's never been a huge market for them in the first place, just a prominent one. And it's hard to argue with their marketing strategy - they are pretty much dominating 
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,664
    edited June 2018
    Ridelynn said:
    Daranar said:

    Apple doesn't care about desktop gaming.   Why should they?  They don't have a respectable market share before this, so who cares.  But as you said, this has a much bigger impact on content creators.
    This news, combine with the hardware they are letting languish - the Mac Pro, the Mini, any type of upgradeable form factor, MBP with significant GPU - it makes me think they really do want to just leave all the entire professional market behind.

    I guess it's never been a huge market for them in the first place, just a prominent one. And it's hard to argue with their marketing strategy - they are pretty much dominating 
    Apple still dominates tablets:

    http://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/tablet/worldwide

    However, the tablet market seems to have peaked in 2014 and has been shrinking ever since then.

    Meanwhile, iOS is a very distant second place to Android in smartphones, and it's been a long time since they even had 20% of that market by number of phones sold:

    https://www.idc.com/promo/smartphone-market-share/os

    Cheap smartphones are almost exclusively Android, with Apple having a much higher percentage of the expensive phones, however.  One also suspects that people who buy a $500 phone tend to spend more in an app store than people who buy a $200 phone.

    So while Apple is still making a ton of money, it's far from guaranteed that that will continue to be the case.  They're nowhere near as dominant in any major market as Windows has been in desktops and laptops for the last 25 years.

    It's not hard to see how Apple's market position could collapse.  People who are used to Android on a $200 phone and later have more money and buy a $500 phone are more likely to stick with Android than jump to iOS.  People who are used to Android on a phone and later buy a tablet might again want to stick with Android rather than jump to iOS.  It's much harder to see the reverse happening, as Apple simply doesn't offer any budget-friendly devices of any sort.

    I'm not predicting the imminent demise of Apple.  They might well maintain or expand their market share in their key markets for years to come, or come to dominate a new market that is tiny or non-existent today.  But I do think that if they make it so that developers basically have to choose to either develop for Apple OSes only or for everything else, most are going to go with "everything else".
    MadFrenchie
  • RhoklawRhoklaw Member LegendaryPosts: 7,433
    Apple will soon become "The Principality of Sealand" in the computer world. True kings in their own, rusted, tiny kingdom.

  • KabulozoKabulozo Member RarePosts: 932
    Playing games is the last reason a person buy an Apple computer. They mostly buy it to show off while making a power point presentation.
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