Less than a week ago Apple opened Mac OS X APIs that allow developers to access low level hardware to accelerate their software. Adobe responded to that announcement saying they would utilize these APIs to use the Mac’s graphics hardware to accelerate Flash, and just six days later they have released the first preview with their hardware accelerated 'Gala' release.
The current list of supported GPUs include: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M. This covers the whole line of unibody MacBook Pros that feature discrete graphics. The iMac situation is a less straightforward due to Apple’s mix of NVIDIA and ATI GPUs used in their all-in-one. This leaves some users with even relatively recent Mac hardware unable to utilize hardware acceleration, so hopefully this list of supported GPUs will expand.
Adobe also announced that this functionality will be available as a standard feature in Flash Player 10.1. In their post announcing the Gala preview Adobe said, “The preview release of Flash Player Gala is based on Flash Player 10.1, which will ship the first half of this year and is now available as a release candidate.”
With Apple and Adobe’s belabored relationship in recent months, this is a surprising, yet welcome development.