News for the ‘iphone’ Category

Apple A5 Teardown…

We had decapsulated the A5 a couple of days ago, but as you could see in those early pictures, you can’t tell much of a chip’s layout from the top metal – it’s all power and ground buses.  So we have to de-layer the chip down to a level where we can see the block layout of the chip; not an easy thing when there’s nine layers of metal!  In fact, these days it’s easier to go in from the back and remove the substrate silicon, and look at the gate level from below.  Then we can identify the circuit blocks that make up the full device.

[W]e’ve labeled the key blocks; the ARM cores are in the right half of the die, with ~4.5 Mb of cache memory each.  We can also see the USB interface at the top, and the DDR SDRAM interfaces at the bottom right, for the memory in the top part of the package-on-package.  Other I/O blocks are strewn around the edge of the die.

Interesting stuff.

Posted: March 15th, 2011
Categories: Apple, Geek, Technical Specs, ipad, iphone
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iFixit : Verizon iPhone 4 Almost GSM Compatible.

The Qualcomm MDM6600 chip supports HSPA+ data rates of up to 14.4 Mbps and CDMA2000® 1xEV-DO Rev. A/Rev. B. Datasheet can be downloaded at :

This is the same chipset as the Droid Pro world phone. It supports both GSM and CDMA—which means that Apple could have supported GSM!

Interesting. For reference here are some comments from Tim Cook about LTE support on Verizon…

Asked why Apple didn’t embrace Verizon’s LTE network, Cook said: “Two reasons — the first gen LTE chipsets force design changes we wouldn’t make. And Verizon customers told us they want the iPhone now. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been asked ‘when will it work on Verizon.”

He’s referencing LTE’s extraordinary demands on battery life here. Apple doesn’t usually jump on new technologies fresh out of the gate anyway, so it’s to be expected.

From Cult of Mac.

It would seem that the iPhone 5 will most likely rely on the GSM functionality of the Qualcomm chipset included in the Verizon iPhone 4. And that Apple simply did not want the complication of redesigning a dual system antenna (GSM & CDMA), or including a SIM slot out of the gate on a Verizon iPhone 4.

Posted: February 8th, 2011
Categories: Apple, iphone
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Visa Trialling iPhone NFC Payments in EU

Visa has begun trials of an iPhone-based mobile payment system in Europe, Computerworld reports. The trials, which started today, require on-device software to be installed on testers’ iPhones, as well as a hardware accessory that contains an NFC chip. Visa’s solution also requires retailers to install a hardware terminal capable of processing the mobile payments. Apple is expected to add native NFC capabilities to its next-generation iPhone, which means users would not have to attach any additional device to their phones in order to pay for goods and services. Apple has not yet confirmed the addition of NFC to its next-generation smartphone, however, so it is unclear if the company plans to restrict third-party access to NFC capabilities. In that event, third-party solutions like the one Visa is currently trialling would still require a hardware accessory to function. A survey conducted by Visa in Europe found that 87% of iPhone users would be willing to connect a hardware accessory to their phones in order to enable mobile payments.

It’s over for Square.

Posted: February 1st, 2011
Categories: Apple, iOS, iPhone OS, ipad, iphone
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This Subtle iPhone 3D Does Work Though…

Very cool use of a springboard hack and the accelerometer (or more likely the gyroscope).

Very tempting reason to jailbreak your iPhone. It will of course speed up your battery consumption.

Posted: January 27th, 2011
Categories: Hacks, Jailbreak, iOS, iPod, iphone
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iOS OpenGL ES Dev. Tools : PVRShaman & PVRUniSCo

Graphical front-end for the PVRUniSCo shader compiler allowing easy creation and editing of OpenGL ES 2.0 shading language vertex and fragment shader programs in addition to POWERVR FX (PFX) files.

PVRShaman is an integrated shader development environment allowing rapid-prototyping of new vertex and fragment shader programs. PVRShaman brings together geometry exported using PVRGeoPOD (or converted using Collada2POD), textures compressed using PVRTexTool and on-the-fly editing of Shader programs with editing functionality on the same level as the PVRUniSCo Editor. Projects are saved as POWERVR FX files allowing easy integration with your code base.

For the longest time I have been optimising my own OpenGL ES shaders using my knowledge of the underlying hardware and things that may stall or slow down the pipeline. It is not very clear on Imagination Technologies’ site that these tools are now available as OS X utilities that run in X11. All you need to do is download the folder of the app, rather than the .exe, and then “chmod +x” the relevant file for your OS (Linux or OS X).

PVRUniSCo is particularly useful as it gives you estimated instruction / cycle counts for shaders. Some estimates for shaders I have long thought were fairly optimal surprised me, and showed me where I had perhaps missed a trick or two.

Recommended development resources, if you haven’t already found them and had a play.

Posted: January 16th, 2011
Categories: Development Tools, iOS, iPhone OS, iPod, ipad, iphone, opengl
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SGX543 Drivers Found in iOS 4.3

[H]ints included in the new iOS 4.3 beta seeded to developers earlier this week indicate that Apple may be preparing to move to Imagination Technologies’ next-generation GPU architecture with the SGX543 on future devices.

From MacRumours.

That is kind of like saying the sun will rise tomorrow! Of course Apple are going to move their mobile GPU line up forward with each generation of iOS device. I am just surprised they let this slip out in some beta software if we are not going to see it sooner, rather than later…

Imagination Technologies extends graphics IP core family with POWERVR™ SGX543
POWERVR graphics roadmap continues to outpace competition with debut of POWERVR Series5XT architecture

Las Vegas, 8th January 2008: Imagination Technologies – the leader in semiconductor System on Chip Intellectual Property (SoC IP) – announces POWERVR SGX543, the first graphics processor IP core based on Imagination’s extended POWERVR Series5XT architecture, which enables higher performance POWERVR SGX cores and multi-processor support.

The debut of POWERVR SGX543 takes the POWERVR roadmap to the next level. The SGX family now offers the ultimate scalability, ranging from the world’s smallest OpenGL™ ES 2.0 mobile core through solutions for performance mobile and HDTV, to high-performance gaming and computing solutions, confirming the ultimate scalability of the Series5 POWERVR SGX architecture.

POWERVR SGX543 is the first POWERVR SGX graphics IP core available in both single core and multi-processor solutions. Imagination will release further details of POWERVR SGX543’s multi-processor capabilities at Multicore Expo 2009 in March.

POWERVR SGX543 – the first POWERVR Series5XT architecture IP core
The four pipeline POWERVR SGX543 is the first in a series of new SGX IP cores that utilise the POWERVR Series5XT architecture, which delivers significant enhancements to the Series5 SGX architecture used in previous SGX IP cores.

SGX543’s wide-ranging architectural enhancements include:

USSE2 – extended USSE™ instruction set with comprehensive vector operations and co-issue capability,

Upgraded tile handling to further reduce memory bandwidth and improve performance for setup-bound applications,

Typically 40% faster performance for ‘shader-heavy’ applications,

2x floating point and 2x hidden surface removal performance,

Enhanced triangle setup delivering up to 50% higher throughput,

Improved multi-sampling anti-aliasing performance,

Features for optimised performance when used with POWERVR VXD and VXE video cores,

Advanced colour space handling and gamma correction,

Further optimised OpenVG 1.x support,

Cache and MMU improvements,

The new POWERVR SGX543 delivers real-world performance of 35 million polygons/sec and 1 Gpixels/sec fillrate at 200MHz,* capable of driving HD screens with ultra smooth high definition 3D graphics. Even in a single-core solution POWERVR SGX543’s performance is unprecedented in any GPU, demonstrating Imagination’s pace of innovation and ability to drive the consumer experience in graphics to levels unheard of only a few years ago in anything less than high end specialist platforms.

Tony King-Smith, VP marketing Imagination Technologies says: “With POWERVR SGX543 Imagination continues to extend its leadership and dominance of the embedded graphics acceleration market with a solution capable of delivering blistering 3D, 2D and vector graphics. The Series5XT architecture enables us to continue to extend our dominance in mobile and embedded graphics solutions by addressing the rapidly growing demands for high performance graphics in a wide range of market segments.”

The POWERVR Series5XT architecture builds on the highly efficient Series5 architecture, which ensures that maximum performance is achieved across a wide range of applications, regardless of whether the content is dominated by polygon throughput, pixel processing, high fill rate or any combination of these. Other architectures that use separate polygon and pixel processing units cannot achieve the sustained throughput or silicon utilisation of POWERVR SGX graphics cores.

USSE2 (Universal Scalable Shader Engine2), the main programmable processing unit within each POWERVR SGX543 pipeline, incorporates a major upgrade of the data path to deliver vastly improved vector processing performance and overall throughput. This datapath upgrade is a key reason why SGX543 delivers on average 40% faster performance for ‘shader-heavy’ applications than earlier POWERVR SGX cores.

USSE2 is a scalable multi-threaded GPU shader processing engine that efficiently processes graphics as well as many other mathematically-intensive tasks. These tasks are automatically broken down into processing packets, which can include parts of shaders, which are then scheduled across a number of hardware multi-threaded execution units for maximum processing efficiency. USSE2 is programmed using the GLSL language that forms part of the OpenGL ES 2.0 API specification from the Khronos Group.

Imagination is also part of the OpenCL Working Group in Khronos defining the new GPGPU processing API, which will enable developers to gain greater access to the full capabilities of USSE2 in a broader range of applications.

From Imagination Technologies.

If I am wrong about the “iPad 2″ being pushed out in the next week or two then this could possibly be the solution to Apple’s fill rate problem on this next model. Most likely this is going to be part of the Apple A5 in the iPhone 5. In any case, when the iPad gets a higher resolution, HD?, screen (either in April or at the end of the year) this will be essential.

The SGX543 also supports OpenCL.

Posted: January 15th, 2011
Categories: Apple, iOS, iPod, ipad, iphone
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Rumour : Future iPhones & iPads lose Home Button

We just got some pretty wild information from one of our Apple sources and while it’s hard to believe at first, it does make sense. We have exclusively been told that the reason Apple just added multitouch gestures for the iPad in the latest iOS 4.3 beta is because the iPad will be losing the home button.

In addition to the home button disappearing from the iPad, we’re told that this change will make its way over to the iPhone as well. Our source said Apple employees are already testing iPads and iPhones with no home buttons on the Apple campus, and it’s possible we will see this new change materialize with the next-generation iPad and iPhone devices set to launch this year.

Remember that I have said I think we’ll see two iPad launches this year.

It has been said that Steve Jobs didn’t want any physical buttons on the original iPhone at first, and it looks like he may soon get his wish.

This is just mad enough to be true. The question is, will Apple run the gauntlet of possible IP conflicts with RIM and their touch sensitive bezels, or will they truly go completely multitouch?

Either way, if this is true, we may perhaps see more screen real estate on iPhones and the iPod Touch, which would be cool.

Posted: January 13th, 2011
Categories: Apple, iOS, iPod, ipad, iphone
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Code Samples : OpenGL ES 2.0 Programming Guide

This project contains all of the source code to the example programs from the OpenGL ES 2.0 Programming Guide.

The sample code is available on the following platforms:

  • Windows (Microsoft Visual Studio) using the AMD OpenGL ES 2.0 Emulator or PowerVR Khronos OpenGL ES 2.0 SDK
  • iPhone
  • WebGL (requires WebGL-enabled browser)
  • Android 2.2

Please see the Instructions wiki page for more information on how to install and build the sample code.

I certainly found this book a handy reference when transitioning from desktop OpenGL to OpenGL ES. So I am sure the code samples will be of great help to those in a similar situation.

Posted: January 7th, 2011
Categories: Developer, iOS, iPhone OS, iPod, ipad, iphone
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Canabalt iOS Source…

I am really excited to announce that the Canabalt source is now open and available, including the game code, Flixel for iOS, graphics, sound effects, and music:

First I wanted to explain why we would do such a thing.  First and foremost, the holiday charity fundraising effort in which we are participating, the Indie iPhone Holiday Sale, raised over $25,000 so far for Child’s Play, a wonderful organization that helps bring games and toys to children in hospitals around the world.

Canabalt is running on our first major attempt at porting Adam’s Flixel framework to iOS.  We had a lot of reasons for doing this, and the results have been… variable.  But if you are a Flixel (or even native Flash) developer, and you have a basic grasp of ObjectiveC, this source code might still be useful to you!  Hopefully we’ll be announcing a slightly less insane and more flexible version of Flixel in the near future (we always say that don’t we).

By their own admission the code is not the most polished in the world. I have not taken a look yet, but it should certainly be of interest to developers out there who would like to look inside a complete iOS project.

So overall not a bad little package of code for those interested in the Flixel framework, and how to put an App Store app together. Apparently this version is not even live on the App Store yet, and includes performance enhancements, and accordingly Retina Display support.

The Twitter stuff for Canabalt is missing deliberately, because of fears it may pose a risk of user data being exposed in the game itself. But they did previously share their iOS xAuth Twitter implementation.

Posted: December 31st, 2010
Categories: App Store, Source Code, iOS, ipad, iphone
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EPIC UDK for iOS Available Tomorrow…

Epic Games will tomorrow release a new version of its Unreal Development Kit, now with support for iPhone and iPad versions of the engine.

This follows the well-received launch of Infinity Blade, the first Unreal-powered title for iOS, and which turned over at least $1.6 million in its first five days on sale.

The kit remains free to download, while Epic requires no payment for any UDK games released for free, regardless of platform.

Developers wishing to charge for their Unreal-powered iOS Apps will be required to first buy a $99 license and to provide 25 per cent of all royalties once passing $5000 in sales.

It’s a great deal. And a great engine. Available here tomorrow.

Couple that with the App Store as a sales channel and you should be all set…

Posted: December 15th, 2010
Categories: Development Tools, iOS, iPhone OS, iPod, ipad, iphone
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