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Apple Begins Testing Of Safari 10 Browser

June 27, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has begun testing Safari 10 with developers running the 2014 and 2015 editions of macOS, gearing up for a fall release of the updated browser to users of Yosemite and El Capitan.

Safari 10 was introduced earlier this month as part of macOS Sierra, this year’s operating system upgrade.

Apple typically supports its newest browser on three editions of macOS: The latest version and its two predecessors. The now-current Safari 9, for example, receives updates, including security patches, on last year’s El Capitan, 2014′s Yosemite and 2013′s Mavericks.

Safari 10 will be supported on Sierra, El Capitan and Yosemite. Meanwhile, Mavericks will remain on Safari 9.

The Safari 10 preview is currently available only to registered Apple developers, who pay $99 annually for access to early builds, development tools and documentation.

The general public will get its first look at Safari 10 next month after Apple opens up its broader-based public beta program for Sierra. Those who have signed on to the beta preview will also be able to download preliminary versions of Safari 10 for El Capitan and Yosemite, running the preview browser but sticking with their older, more stable operating systems.

Some of Safari 10′s signature features will be available only within macOS Sierra, including web-based Apple Pay — where payment is authorized with an iPhone or Apple Watch — but others will be supported by older versions of the operating system. Among the most notable are the new ability for developers to distribute and sell Safari add-ons in the Mac App Store, and easy portability of iOS content blockers to macOS.

If Apple replicates last year’s beta schedule, it will release the first public preview of macOS Sierra and Safari 10 around July 14.

 

 

AMD Goes 32 Cores Zeplin

June 27, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A few months back Nick wrote about AMD Zen processor  found in a Linux Kernel Mailing List confirming that Zeppelin had  support for eight bundles of four cores on a single chip, or 32 physical processing cores.

This tied in with a story written in August of 2015 about a MCM Multi Chip module that featured a Zeppelin core, a super-fast 100GB/s interconnection via 4 GMI links and Greenland (Vega) high performance GPU with 4+ TFlops of performance. This APU will still happen, it will just be a bit later – the end of 2017.

Now we have a few more details about Zeppelin cluster and this is proving to be another “Fudzilla told you so” moment.  Apparently you can put up to four Zeppelin CPU clusters on a one chip and make a 32 core chip. This will be connected via coherent interconnect (coherent data fabric).

Each Zeppelin module has eight Zen cores and each Zen core has 512 KB of L2 cache. Four Zen cores share 8MB or L3 cache making the total amount of L3 cache per Zeppelin cluster 16 MB.

Each Zeppelin cluster will have PCIe Gen 3, SATA 3, and a 10GbE network connection. A server version of the chip has the server controller hub, DDR4 memory controller and AMD secure processors.

AMD will have at least three pin compatible versions of the next generation Opteron using Zeppelin cluster of Zen cores. There will be a 8 core versions with single Zeppelin cluster, dual Zeppelin cluster version and a quad Zeppelin version, that one that we have called Naples which will have 64MB L3 cache. All this sounds rather a lot.

We are expecting to see Zen-based Opterons in eight, sixteen and thirty two core versions for servers in 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

 

AMD Finally Confirms Polaris Specs

June 21, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

In an official slides that have leaked, AMD has confirmed most of the specifications for both the Polaris 10 and the Polaris 11 GPUs which will power the upcoming Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 graphics cards.

According to the slides published by Computerbase.de, both GPUs are based on AMD’s 4th generation Graphics Core Next (GCN 4.0) GPU architecture, offer 2.8 perf/watt improvement compared to the previous generation, have 4K encode and decode capabilities as well as bring DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 and HDR support.

Powering three different graphics cards, these two GPUs will cover different market segments, so the Polaris 10, codename Ellesmere, will be powering both the Radeon RX 480, meant for affordable VR and 1440p gaming as well as the recently unveiled RX 470, meant to cover the 1080p gaming segment. The Polaris 10 packs 36 Compute Units (CUs) so it should end up with 2304 Stream Processors. Both the RX 480 and RX 470 should be coming with 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5 memory, paired up with a 256-bit memory interface. The Ellesmere GPU offers over 5 TFLOPs of compute performance and should peak at 150W.

The Radeon RX 470 should be based on Ellesmere Pro GPU and will probably end up with both lower clocks as well as less Stream Processors and according to our sources close to the company, should launch with a US $179 price tag, while the RX 480 should launch on 29th of June with a US $199 price tag for a reference 4GB version. Most AIB partners will come up with a custom 8GB graphics cards which should probably launch at US $279+.

The Polaris 11 GPU, codename Baffin, will have 16 CUs and should end up with 1024 Stream Processors. The recently unveiled Radeon RX 460 based on this GPU should come with 4GB of GDDR5 memory paired up with a 128-bit memory interface. The Radeon RX 460 targets casual and MOBA gamers and should provide decent competition to the Geforce GTX 950 as both have a TDP of below 75W and do not need additional PCIe power connectors.

According to earlier leaked benchmarks, AMD’s Polaris architecture packs quite a punch considering both its price and TDP so AMD just might have a chance to get a much needed rebound in the market share.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Patent Dispute May Hamper Apple’s iPhone 6 Sales In China

June 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus face a looming sales ban in China over a patent dispute with a little-known local company.

The phones infringe a design patent held by Chinese device maker Shenzhen Baili, a Beijing intellectual property office ruled, according to a notice posted Thursday.

The office ordered Apple and its partners to halt sales of both products, though Apple has appealed and the phones are currently still on sale there.

“We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court,” Apple said Friday in an email.

The iPhone 6 models violate an “exterior design patent” held by Shenzhen Baili. The company was granted the patent in China in July 2014, shortly before Apple released the iPhone 6.

Shenzhen Baili used the patented design to make smartphones under its 100+ brand. The devices start at only 799 yuan, or about US$120, while the iPhone 6 initially sold for 5,288 yuan.

Shenzhen Baili warned Apple in 2014 that it might sue for patent infringement.

It’s not Apple’s first legal challenge in China. In 2012 the company battled a different company there which claimed ownership of the iPad trademark. Apple ended up paying US$60 to resolve that dispute – not a huge sum considering the importance of the Chinese market.

Earlier this year, in April, Chinese regulators shut down Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks services without publicly stating why. Those services appear to be still offline.

China is the world’s biggest smartphone market but Apple products face stiff competition there from local handset makers. In the first quarter this year, Apple ranked fifth among smartphone makers in China, according to research firm Canalys.

“‘Local vendors, such as Huawei, Vivo and Oppo, are eating into the premium segment that Samsung and Apple considered their own,” Canalys said at the time.

 

 

 

 

AMD Touts Zen

June 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has released a short video where its lead system engineer Louis Castro running Doom on its Summit Ridge, Zen-based processor.

This means that the silicon is in good shape and the processor was taped our probably late last year with no major issues. AMD’s CEO Lisa Su has already said that the desktop version shall arrive first, and this was the CPU demonstrated in the video.

Summit Ridge is not an APU and doesn’t have a GPU core. AMD engineers were using a discreet GPU probably from one they found out the back.

The Summit Ridge is an FM4 socket processor and half dozen of them are shown in the video.

 

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple Rolls Out A Revamped App Store

June 10, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc announced a series of long anticipated enhancements to its App Store, but the new features may not ease concerns of developers and analysts who say that the App Store model – and the very idea of the single-purpose app – has seen its best days.

The revamped App Store will let developers advertise their wares in search results and give developers a bigger cut of revenues on subscription apps, while Apple said it has already dramatically sped up its app-approval process.

The goal is to sustain the virtuous cycle at the heart of the hugely lucrative iPhone business. Software developers make apps for the iPhone because its customers are willing to pay, and those customers, in turn, pay a premium for the device because it has the best apps.

The store is now more strategically important than ever for Apple as sales of the iPhone begin to level off and the company looks to software and services to fill the gap. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a recent conference call that App Store revenues were up 35 percent over last year.

But the store is also a victim of its own success. Eight years after its launch, it is packed with more than 1.9 million apps, according to analytics firm App Annie, making it almost impossible for developers to find an audience – and increasingly difficult for customers to find what they need, as some 14,000 new apps arrive in the store each week.

“The app space has grown out of control,” said Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the internet and now a vice president at Alphabet Inc’s Google, who was speaking at a San Francisco conference on the future of the web on Wednesday. “We need to move away from having an individual app for every individual thing you want to do.”

 

 

Can MediaTek Win In The Car Space?

June 7, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek’s R&D teams are working with European-based car vendors to develop the company’s automotive electronics and virtual reality (VR) offerings.

Digitimes claims that having developed SoCs for smartphones, mobile devices, and connected home appliances, MediaTek is stepping up development of chips solutions for auto electronics and VR applications.

MediaTek is focused on in-car entertainment systems, and will be using its partnership with China-based NavInfo, a digital mapping service provider to help out.

NavInfo will sell subsidiary AutoChips (Hefei) and will also form a strategic alliance in which MediaTek will make an investment of US$100 million.
MediaTek will be developing VR for handsets and will support Google’s Daydream VR platform.

Meanwhile the team is flat out improving its IC solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable device applications. It is pretty sure that this will become the third largest segment after mobile devices and connected home appliances such as digital TVs. In fact the only two areas that MediaTek does not appear interested in is server and augmented reality (AR) applications.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Micron Announces 3D NAND Based SSDs

June 7, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Micron has announced its first client- and OEM-oriented solid-state drives based on 3D NAND, the Micron 1100 and Micron 2100 series.

The Micron 1100 SSD is a more mainstream oriented SSD that will be based on Marvell’s 88SS1074 controller and Micron’s 384Gb 32-layer TLC NAND. Using a SATA 6Gbps interface and available in M.2 and 2.5-inch form-factors, the Micron 1100 should replace Micron’s mainstream M600 series, based on 16nm MLC NAND.

The Micron 1100 SSD will be available in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. It will offer sequential performance of up to 530MB/s for read and up to 500MB/s for write with random 4K performance of up to 92K for read and up to 83K IOPS for write. With such performance, it is obvious that the Micron 1100 series will target mainstream market and be a budget SSD.

The Micron 2100 is an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD that is actually Micron’s first client oriented PCIe SSD and also the first PCIe SSD based on 3D NAND. Unfortuantely, Micron did not finalize the precise specifications so we still do not have precise performance numbers but it will be available in capacities reaching 1TB.

The Micron 1100 is expected to hit mass production in July so we should expect some of the first drives by the end of the next month. The Micron 2100 will be coming by the end of summer.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Slate Tablet Market Continues Downward Spiral

June 6, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Demand for slate-shaped tablets is losing steam even faster than expected.

For all of 2016, global tablet shipments will drop by 9.6% over 2015, market research firm IDC forecast this week, marking the second straight year of decline. In March, IDC had forecast a decline of 6% for this year.

The decline will occur even when newer detachable tablets, often called 2-in-1s, are included with slate tablets, IDC said.

“The impact of the decline of slates is having a bigger impact, faster than we thought. They are not coming back,” said IDC analyst Jean Phillippe Bouchard in an interview.

But Bouchard was quick to add that slates are not disappearing entirely. There will continue to be a robust market for small slate tablets, under 8 inches, that are sold for less than $125 by Amazon and others, primarily for use by children.

“There will also continue to be a slate market for commercial uses in healthcare, education and hospitality, so there are a lot of use cases for slates saying that slates are not going away,” he said. “There will still be a need for slates but not as great as in 2010.” IDC said well over 100 million slate tablets will ship annually through 2020.

As IDC and others have said in the past, slate tablets have saturated the market. “Everyone wanting a slate has one, and there’s very little reason to replace it or upgrade it,” Bouchard added.

IDC pegged the total tablet market of both slates and detachables at 207 million units shipped in 2015, but that figure will decline to about 187 million in 2016. IDC didn’t release its forecast for years beyond 2016, but said the market will continue to decline in 2017 before having a “slight rebound in 2018 and beyond, driven by detachable tablet growth.”

 

 

MediaTek To Spin-Off Virtual Reality Unit

May 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek is so confident about its VR plans it is going to spin off its VR division to form an independent company in June.

A recent Chinese-language Economic Daily News report claims that Mediatek wants the spun off business to drive VR sales. It all sounds pretty good but MediaTek have sort of denied the rerport.

Well we say sort of denied it. What it has told the Taiwan Stock Exchange  that it was not the report’s source, which is not quite the same thing.The spin off could go ahead, but MediaTek is denying that it told the EDN its cunning plans. But then again the EDN did not name its source either. Without a denial from the company we are none the wiser.

MediaTek’s VR unit was set up between end-2015 and early-2016 to focus on the development of the company’s VR solutions for handsets, the EDN thought.

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia Outs The Tesla M10

May 24, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia has been talking about its Tesla M10 GPU designed to run on the latest version of the company’s GRID technology.

For those who came in late, GRID technology is supposed to give servers a kick in the graphics back-end. It powers virtual desktops and support cloud-powered gaming.

Nvidia says the Tesla M10 GPU can support up to 64 desktops per board and 128 per server with two boards. This means shedloads of virtual machines  which are potentially dead and alive.

The new graphics card ccan support Citrix’s XenApp and virtual PCs running Windows, or power virtual workstations that need the performance for professional graphics work.

The M10 is a bit like the M6 and M60 as a GPU accelerator – unlike the M10 motorway which is a disappointingly short road connected the M1 to the A414 just south of St Albans.

Companies making use of virtual machines or looking to substitute hardware for more efficient virtual systems can access the GRID and Tesla tech for less than $2 per month per user for use with virtual apps and remote desktop sessions, and the firm will provide virtual PCs for less than $6 per month per user.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Making Gains In The GPU Space?

May 23, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Figures from Mercury Research show that AMD appears to be clawing back some market share.

Of course market share does not mean profits, but it is the sort of news that AMD needs. Particularly, it does not appear that AMD is doing that much.

Mercury Research’s latest GPU market report, show that in the first quarter overall graphics unit volumes declined by 10.2 per cent in comparison to last year. However AMD gained discrete GPU market share.

This surge was on the back of AMD’s Radeon R9 Series GPUs as well as AMD’s revitalised driver development strategy. It clawed back 1.8 share points in desktop discrete graphics (that is 22.7 per cent) and 7.3 share point jump in notebook discrete, moving to 38.7 per cent share. Better than a poke in the eye with a short stick and could provide a bit of momentum when AMD’s next generation Polaris Architecture-based 14nm discrete graphics products are released this quarter.

The findings confirm what Wells Fargo analyst David Wong said earlier this week. He added that AMD has modeled for sequential growth, but Nvidia has guided for a 10 per cent sequential decline in sales for the quarter ended April 2016.

This suggests that what Nvidia has lost has been gained by AMD. If AMD manages to build momentum, it could pose a serious threat to Nvidia and expose the green goblin’s lack of GPU variety in the mid-tier. In order to retain its market share, Nvidia needs to come up with tactics to re-establish its dominance via product differentiation and feature incorporation.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple To Open Maps Product Development Center In India

May 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Moving forward with his attempt to attract Indian customers and developers, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced that the company was setting up a new development center for its Maps product in Hyderabad in south India.

Apple earlier on Wednesday announced it would set up by early next year a facility in Bangalore to focus on helping developers on best practices and to improve the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.

Cook is on his first visit to India, where the company saw a 56 percent year-on-year growth in iPhone sales in the first quarter even as its global iPhone sales and overall revenue dropped.

Apple’s new center will focus on the development of Maps for Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. The investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4,000 jobs, the company said.

The Cupertino, California, company did not disclose the size of its investment in the center though some reports have placed the figure at $25 million.

A large number of U.S. companies, including Texas Instruments, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, have set up software, chip design and product development centers in India, to tap the country’s large pool of engineers.

“The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations,” Cook said in a statement.

India is the third-largest smartphone market in the world, after China and the U.S., according to Gartner research director Anshul Gupta.

 

 

nVidia Shows Better Than Expected Profit

May 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia forecast better-than-expected revenue for the current quarter demand for its chips has risen, while its rival, AMD has a knap while waiting for its Zen technology to arrive.

Shares of the company, which also reported profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates, were up 7.5 percent in extended trading.

The chipmaker last week unveiled its GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 graphics processors based on its Pascal technology.

Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the new Pascal GPU architecture will give a giant boost to deep learning, gaming and VR. The  processors were in full production and would be available later this month.

Revenue from its gaming business, which designs graphics cards such as GeForce for PCs, rose 17 percent to $687 million.

The company has weathered a shrinking personal computer industry by focusing on game enthusiasts, who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for processors used in playing graphically demanding games. Revenue from its data center business, which includes its Tesla processors, rose 62.5 percent to $143 million.

The company said it expected second-quarter revenue to be $1.35 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.28 billion for the quarter. Nvidia’s net income rose to $196 million in the first quarter ended May 1 from $134 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 13.4 percent to $1.31 billion, while analysts were expecting $1.26 billion.

The company also said it intends to return about $1 billion to shareholders in fiscal 2017 through quarterly dividends and share buybacks.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft To End Its Sunrise Calendar App On August 31st

May 13, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The Sunrise Calendar app will be no more as of on Aug. 31, the team behind it announced in a blog post. In the next few days, the app will no longer be available from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

Users will have a few months to keep using it without support, before the company switches off the service at the end of August. This is happening because Microsoft acquired the company behind Sunrise last year and put its team to work on improving Outlook instead.

According to the blog post, working on Outlook means the Sunrise team doesn’t have time to support the app they created. They’ve been integrating popular features from Sunrise into different versions of Outlook, including a recently released Calendar Apps feature on iOS and Android that lets users bring information from outside services into their Outlook calendar.

Sunrise users who want many of the features offered in the app can follow the Sunrise team over to Outlook, but its current capabilities aren’t a perfect match for the app that’s being shut down.

The Sunrise team says that they’re hard at work bringing loved features from the app over to Microsoft’s.

For Microsoft watchers, none of this comes as a surprise. The company said last year that it planned to shut down Sunrise.

It’s a reminder that software delivered as a service can be shut down at any time, more easily than an app you’ve installed on your own computer.