Nvidia GPUs haven’t been options for Mac computers in recent generations, and their absence from the new 2013 Mac Pro was the ire of many Mac professionals across industries from film and visualization to engineering and science. Now a Nvidia job posting clearly indicates that Nvidia GPUs may be headed back to future Macs.
Are Revolutionary Macs Coming?
The job ad is for a software engineer and the winning applicant will “help produce the next revolutionary Apple products.” The job position also states that the goals include implementing and extending “Metal Compute and OpenCL on the latest cutting-edge Nvidia and Apple OS X platforms.”
The emphasis on OpenCL is unusual because Nvidia has not been as enthusiastic a supporter of Apple’s GPU-based parallel compute framework like AMD has. Nvidia has its proprietary CUDA framework which has outperformed OpenCL in industry adoption. A focus on OpenCL and Metal Compute may portend to interests in areas beyond graphics, such as artificial intelligence.
Upcoming Macs with Nvidia GPUs onboard may utilize those GPUs for accelerating AI algorithms, like the kind used in Apple’s latest Photos app in macOS Sierra. And Nvidia is already doing a lot with AI and GPUs.
The new ad’s wording is suggestive, if not indicative, of helping to shape the future of Metal and OpenCL on Macs, a future that has as much to do with AI as it does with computer graphics. Nvidia’s involvement in future Macs seems significant.
A Change of Course for Macs
Currently, many Mac models are long overdue for a major update, and some observers have noted that Apple hasn’t let the Mac product line get this “aged” in over a decade. Tim Cook has had to come out reminding the Mac faithful that Apple still cares deeply about its first computing platform.
So the lag in updates isn’t because Apple is distracted or has lost focus on Mac, but rather because it is likely working on something quite substantial. Just what that is, however, remains elusive. One thing we do know now is that Nvidia looks to be playing a key role.