Print  |  Send  |   

IPhone code trail points to MBX graphics core

July 06, 2007 //

Evidence is building that the PowerVR MBX core from Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England) is providing the graphics processing in the Apple iphone. That would make for about five or six processor cores inside the iPhone all designed by U.K. companies but manufactured by others.


LONDON — Evidence had been building in recent days that the PowerVR MBX core from Imagination Technologies (Kings Langley, England) is providing the graphics processing in the Apple iphone. That would make for about five or six processor cores inside the iPhone all designed by U.K. companies but manufactured by others.

Imagination has declined to confirm the design win although detective work by members of the Beyond 3D Forum has revealed references to MBX in Apple iPhone firmware.

The originator of the "PowerVR MBX in iPhone" discussion thread at the forum referred readers to a flash memory firmware dump on an iPhone developers' Wiki site called iPhone Dev Wiki.

The original evidence was some references to a device type identified as 0x78626D. 0x78626D happens to be xbm, which is mbx backwards, the writer asserted. However another contributor to the forum pointed out that the MBX libraries are referred to in crash logs also listed at the same iPhone site.

Soon other forum members were finding references to graphics-related MBX device strings in cache dumps from the iPhone, including text strings such as "AppleMBXDevice(%p): Graphics hang with pending 2D blit." Some members of the forum appeared unfamiliar with Imagination or the PowerVR MBX core, wondering whether it was a stand-alone chip or included in the system chip.

An elephantine memory or a diligent search of the EE Times archives would have reminded forum members that Samsung licensed the PowerVR MBX 3D graphics processor developed by Imagination Technologies Group plc, from ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) back in January 2004. At that time ARM was licensing out Imagination's cores as well as its own, although the two companies subsequently parted ways.

Of course Imagination has likely worked with Samsung to provide a later version of PowerVR MBX, and certainly one tuned for a more recent manufacturing process technology.

And so the evidence starts to become compelling, but what does Imagination say? A spokesman for Imagination said: "We can't say whether we are designed into the Apple iPhone." The spokesman added: "Samsung is an MBX licensee. They are active. They are a current licensee."

Related articles:

Imagination extends Intel license, takes cash infusion

Intel licenses 'Eurasia' graphics cores from U.K. developer

Imagination extends TI deal to cover OMAP3



All news

MPUs/MCUs,PLDs/FPGAs/ASICs,RF & Microwave

Follow us

Fast, Accurate & Relevant for Design Engineers only!

Technical papers     

Filter Wizard     

Check out the Filter Wizard Series of articles by Filter Guru Kendall Castor-Perry which provide invaluable practical Analog Design guidelines.

Linear video channel

READER OFFER

Read more

This month, Arrow Electronics is giving away ten XMC1200 lighting application kits, worth 100 Euros each, for EETimes Europe's readers to win.

Each kit combines Infineon’s brightness and colour control XMC1200 CPU board to drive flicker free LED dimming and colour changing, together with a colour LED card and a white LED card.

Read more

Design centers     

Automotive
Infotainment Making HDTV in the car reliable and secure

December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974

Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.

 

You must be logged in to view this page

Login here :