Reports of the death of OpenGL have been greatly exaggerated.
Both Microsoft and Apple have alternatives they promote, that’s true. And Apple did announce they would deprecate OpenGL at their developer conference this year. Microsoft tried to do the same with DirectX back in the 90’s. The CAD industry (of which SketchUp is a part) still ships applications running OpenGL on Windows. The big CAD companies (Dassault and Siemens, for example) are very conservative and very influential. Nothing is going to change overnight.
Our team is constantly working on SketchUp’s display pipeline, and there isn’t any technology that we wouldn’t consider if it was genuinely able to improve performance, reliability or capability of the system overall. At the same time, we now ship SketchUp’s rendering pipeline on more than five unique platforms- Windows, macOS, WebGL, iOS, Android and HoloLens. For now, OpenGL is still the only technology supported on all those devices. We’re keenly aware of Vulkan, Metal and DirectX. And we’ll use them when/where appropriate for our users and their needs.
Ideally, SketchUp users shouldn’t really have to care about how we ultimately draw polygons on their screens as long as we are able to make it fast, reliable and beautiful. There’s always a breathless rush of news about rendering after shows like E3 and SIGGRAPH, but in practice these transitions are evolutions… not revolutions. OpenGL is over 25 years old, but is has constantly evolved throughout. Vulkan continues that evolution- in fact, it used to be referred to simply as “OpenGL 5.”
I don’t really have any special insight within the development groups for any of these new APIs, but it seems to me that it is gaming that is really driving them… not CAD. Game engine developers want the freedom to do more custom low-level performance optimization than OpenGL 4 (which is a relatively higher-level API) will naturally allow. These new implementations aren’t inherently faster, they just offer lower-level access for where special optimization can happen.
Always remember that companies like Apple and Microsoft benefit when developers build applications which run exclusively on their environments. Metal only runs on Apple devices. DirectX only runs on Windows. Developers (like us) benefit from running in all environments. OpenGL runs everywhere.