Apple deprecates OpenGL across all OSes; urges developers to use Metal

“As has long been the story at One Infinite Loop, what Apple giveth is what Apple taketh, and Apple’s latest rendition of OSes is going to be no exception,” Ryan Smith reports for AnandTech.

“Listed in the developer release notes for both iOS and macOS, Apple is deprecating support for what are now their legacy graphics and compute APIs: OpenGL, OpenGL ES, and OpenCL,” Smith reports. “Instead, Apple is strongly encouraging developers to use their proprietary Metal API, which has been available for a few years now.”

“Apple has been pushing developers to Metal almost as soon as it became available. And now by deprecating support for these older APIs, Apple is signaling that they are reserving the right to remove them entirely in the future,” Smith reports. “Apple’s threats are generally credible: if these APIs are being deprecated now, then they likely aren’t going to be available much longer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Buh-bye, OpenGL, OpenGL ES, and OpenCL.

Hopefully, after a long gestation period, Metal support can really begin to proliferate.MacDailyNews, September 30, 2016

Apple positions Metal as part of new 3D graphics standard for Web – February 8, 2017
Apple’s Metal and how it can impact Mac gaming – September 30, 2016
Apple’s number one CAD vendor is very excited about Metal for Mac – June 11, 2015
Metal for Mac is so huge, bye-bye Mac Pro – June 9, 2015


    1. to make my point clear:
      Apple is taking away openCL without the slightest indication on how to replace it with Metal, according to the developer session descriptions. This is absolutely terrible, a big FU from Apple to science. FU very much!!!!!!

      1. Apple is the only company that makes a profit on desktop computer, phone, watch, and tablet (iPad) and they also design cpu’s for their devices, they are going to do it their way (Metal). Intel is going to be dumped soon.

        1. Get over it. Intel is NOT going to be dumped “soon”.

          Did you hear (or are you hearing) any rumblings (even undertones) from Apple or Apple staff that they are moving away from Intel? Of course not. In fact, Apple’s newest updates to Metal are specifically written for interactions between Intel CPUs and AMD GPUs (with less specific tuning for Intel’s built in GPUs, but it’s still there too). Even direct Nvidia support seems to be missing (but you can kludge that together if you’re industrious enough).

          Hell, Apple does not even appear to have plans to directly support AMD CPUs, and that would be 1,000x easier than moving things to ARM derivative CPUs and dumping Intel all together.

      2. Yes. It seems like Apple is abandoning the scientific community.

        Apple has had a long, long history supporting the scientific community, but few know that.

        The Apple ][ was used by a lot of us to do quick calculations before doing more robust calculations on mainframes or VAXs or similar machines. It’s numerics capabilities were superior to other similar machines at the time.

        Back in the 80s Apple had its Standard Apple Numerical Environment (SANE) that was the ONLY personal computer system that 100% supported IEEE numerical calculations standards.

        In the 90s Apple strongly supported improvements to the PowerPC chips that pushed vector processing on personal computers. (Remember that at one time, for a short while, the top of the line Power Mac was restricted as to what countries Apple could ship it to? It was considered that fast and that good at number crunching.)

        Remember how Virginia Tech built the third fastest supercomputer on the entire planet (at that time) using Macs?

        Now, through many, many recent actions Apple has shown that it really does not care about the scientific community. This is just the most recent example.

  1. My way ot the high way…. yee haaa…
    Apple knows best! what i want, where i want it, how to organize it, how to access it, whats important, whats not …… so on…yup Freedom ( or is it imprisonment) ….. u decide…. …. i feel more and more trapped .. and i dont like this direction..

    Lately when i watch this commercial from 80s…. i see Apple on the big screen and many loyal fans wanting to be the hammer… how Ironic.

    1. What you might prefer not to hear (or believe), yojimbo007, is that relatively new people share your concerns regarding Apple – at least, not nearly to the same degree.

      Apple has left people hanging in the past on multiple occasions when it cancelled a piece of software or a capability without a truly viable backup. In the case of Metal versus OpenGL/OpenCL, I sincerely hope that this is not the case. Surely Apple can extend Metal to provide Open CL functionality within its framework?! But, there are no guarantees. It is certainly possible that OpenCL will end-of-life on Macs a couple of years down the road without a viable alternative.

      This is certainly a negative for some people. But it is often a positive for many others. Because, in cutting away the old code Apple ensures that people will focus on the new ways of doing business. Human and corporate natures being what they are, most will procrastinate about moving to a new function until they are forced to do so. Well, Apple is not afraid to apply that forcing function, because it has experience with companies like Adobe dragging out the updates to its code base for many years and knows that the only way to make rapid progress is to make it mandatory, just like 64-bit. So, the bad is accompanied by good, as is typical in life.

      1. Thanks… 👍….i hear you in the example you provided..
        Nevertheless… i do feel Uncomfortably restricted and controlled in Apples Walled Gardens (specially IOS) unnecessarily so……..And specially when it comes to I/O and assett management….. all done for the sake of profit and in some cases privacy/security …….not productivity ( but there again.. im not complaing about my stocks gainig in value either.. …. i know , i know…. ) .
        As u said.. ‘good and bad go hand in hand’ ..everything is a compromise … it is a matter where the balance is struck …… in my personal case and many who are a bit more involved in computing than the average person…. that compromised position is off kilter. … From hardware flexibility to software .

  2. I can only hope Apple knows what it is doing considering its minuscule desktop and mobile market share. Apple simply gives way to Windows PCs to do all the major grunt-work when it comes to graphics. What a pity.

  3. How long will it be be before Apple looses interest in Metal and abandons it for something else? No one wants to waste money on a company that doesn’t stick to it’s products long enough for them to succeed.

  4. Sounds like one more obstacle Game development companies will have to consider when weighing the costs for designing a Mac version of their games.

  5. Has Apple ever explained precisely what Metal does that the current OpenGL/Vulcan cannot? As far as I can tell, Apple basically merged two open source APIs (OpenCL and OpenGL) into one, then made it Apple proprietary. Whatever advantages in shading operations Metal may have had back in 2014, it’s not clear that Apple’s proprietary approach offers any technical advantage today.

    Note that since Cook arrived, Apple stopped all open graphics cooperation. To this day, Apple only supports up to OpenGL 4.1 (released July 2010). The current standard OpenGL 4.6 was released in July 2017. The next generation of OpenGL, dubbed Vulkan, was released in Feb 2016 and is supposedly more efficient in 3D processing than Metal and much more capable of distributing workloads across multicore processors. Vulcan 1.1 can and should be compatible with Macs, but Apple clearly wants to go it alone and restrict GPU options in its computers.

    Perhaps the real issue is that Apple wants to be like Microsoft, with its proprietary DirectX framework. Using open source OpenGL or Vulcan would not be profitable enough?

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