Apple exploring 3D iOS interface with motion sensing gestures

The United States Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple patent application today (via PatentlyApple) detailing new 3D GUI concepts and touch-free, motion sensing gestures that would allow you to simply wave your hand over a device equipped with proximity sensors. This follows a patent application published in July that explores similar 3D gestures and user-interfaces, and another in September detailing 3D display and imaging technology that could lead to Kinect-like gestures on future Apple products.

The image to the right (larger version is below) shows a 3D UI environment consisting of two sidewalls, a back wall, a floor, and a ceiling. As you can see, 2D objects are posted to the back and sidewalls, while 3D objects rest on the floor of the environment. The patent mentions a “snap to” feature that appears to allow objects to move from one surface to another by changing the orientation of the 3D environment. In other words, the user’s perspective of the UI, which PatentlyApple said could be imagined as the “view from an imaginary camera viewfinder,” would change when rotation of the device is detected by its gyro sensor or accelerometer:

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Imagination details PowerVR Series6 design that could let iPad 3 outshine console graphics

Imagination Technologies, a British-based maker of a mobile graphics and microprocessor chip technology, announced last June its new mobile graphics architecture code-named Rogue. Today, the company shed more light on the first two PowerVR Series6 designs, the G6400 and G6200. According to a press release issued today, we can expect 20 times the performance of current-generation hardware with five times greater efficiency.

The G6400 and G6200 have two and four compute clusters, respectively, with computing performance “exceeding 100 gigaFLOPS” and “reaching the teraFLOPS range.” Base features supported by all members of the Series6 family include OpenGL ES ‘Halti,’ OpenGL 3.x/4.x, OpenCL 1.x – all of which are supported and widely used by Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. They also support Microsoft’s DirectX10 and some chips are said to be WHQL DirectX11.1-compliant.

Eight chip makers signed up for the new designs so far, including ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Renesas Electronics. Whether Apple is amongst the two unnamed licensees is anyone’s guess, but one could assume that Apple’s custom-built mobile chips would continue using Imagination’s efficient PowerVR architecture.

Other advanced features supported by the Rogue architecture include:

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Samsung Galaxy S II clocks the fastest GPU in any current smartphone, but it likely won’t be a match for iPhone 4S


Image courtesy of Anandtech

Anandtech has published some interesting findings based on their extensive Samsung Galaxy S II review. It’s the first smartphone to use the graphics processing unit based on the Mali-400 core from ARM Holdings, a fables chip maker from the UK. In fact, Samsung has engineered and manufactured its own system-on-a-chip solution for the handset.

They call it the Exynos 4210 and it combines a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU core and the aforementioned Mali-400 GPU sporting four cores. The resulting performance, says Anandtech, is comparable to Texas Instruments OMAP 4 chip that incorporates Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU core. However, the quad-core 1.2GHz Exynos 4210 probably won’t hold a candle to iPhone 4S, which will likely carry the same dual-core processor-GPU combo as the iPad 2’s 1GHz A5 chip:

Samsung implemented a 4-core version of the Mali-400 in the 4210 and its resulting performance is staggering as you can see above. Although it’s still not as fast as the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 found in the iPad 2, it’s anywhere from 1.7 – 4x faster than anything that’s shipping in a smartphone today.

Interestingly, and per the GL Benchmark included below, the Exynos 4210 is more than twice as fast compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that runs Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip and nearly four times speedier than iPhone 4’s 800 MHz A4 chip that sports the PowerVT SGX535 GPU core. However, the 4210 falls short in the triangle throughput department, a big disadvantage over the iPad 2’s A5 processor that clocks nine times the graphics performance of the original iPad’s A4 chip.

Triangle throughput is important in graphics-intensive games and will become key in “future games that may scale along that vector rather than simply increasing pixel shader complexity”. The video of Anandtech’s Samsung Galaxy S II review is right after the break.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com.

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