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SIG: Apple looks to be going the path of ‘Metal’ for graphics—seems out on Vulkan standard

Khronos Group makes further positive momentum with Vulkan API, but Apple is missing from the roster of industry supporters. This is an early signal that Apple may be pushing for Metal for Mac’s graphic future as aging OpenGL lingers as available cross-platform API.


The open standards group, Khronos, has released several important announcements at this week’s computer graphics show, SIGGRAPH 2015, held in Los Angeles, California. A key one is its continued development and push for the new Vulkan graphics and compute API that aims to do what OpenGL and OpenGL ES has done within the industry—that being simplify development and thus enable cross-platform support—but using an API that enables more bare metal access to raw computational power of modern GPUs (graphical processing units).

Apple: The Platform Partner Missing

In an important press release today, Apple is missing from the list of industry supporters, which includes platforms such as Microsoft’s Windows, Google’s Android, the SteamOS by Valve, Tizen, and multiple Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Red Hat.

MORE: Five Things Apple users might want to know about the new Vulkan Graphics API

Vulkan doesn’t replace OpenGL over night nor does it mean OpenGL and OpenGL ES are going away for years to come. The OpenGL API family possesses more abstraction and thereby creates simplification for software programmers to program to, whereas the Vulkan API achieves access to more raw GPU power but at the expense of more programming skill.

01 - Vulkan(tm) is the latest graphics and compute combined future API for GPUs across all devices.

01 – Vulkan(tm) is the latest graphics and compute combined future API for GPUs across all devices.

Architosh has already been pushing the question forward about what happens to Apple’s progress in software accessibility in a post-OpenGL world? While that day is far from near, the question of Apple’s absence from the roster of industry hardware and software giants supporting Vulkan can only be presently partly explained by way of its own proprietary Metal API.

MORE: SIG: OTOY to demonstrate first-ever, room-sized Light Field in VR at SIGGRAPH

Like Microsoft with its DirectX 12 technology, also pushing in the explicit direction and also proprietary to Windows operating systems, Apple’s Metal is a Mac and iOS exclusive. Only time will tell if Apple makes the effort to embrace Vulkan or go it alone with Metal and the aging OpenGL.