There is talk again of a possible entry of Apple into the world of gaming with a console: the shape would be similar to that of Nintendo Switch, the chip would be similar to that of the iPad Pro.
It has tried for some time Apple to impose itself in gaming, but so far the attempts have not paid off. With the debut of Apple Silicon's first homemade high-performance chip, the M1, which debuted in 2020 on MacBooks and more recently iMacs and even iPad Pro, events may take a different turn, and Apple may finally achieve its long-cherished goal.
In fact, there have been several attempts to establish itself in the world of gaming. From the first one, in 2009, that in spite of Steve Jobs' reluctance proposed iPod Touch as an alternative to Sony's PSP and Nintendo DS, passing through the extraordinariness five years ago of Shigeru Miyamoto's presence on the Cupertino stage for the launch of Super Mario Run, to the last one two years ago with the launch of the subscription games platform Apple Arcade. Finally, the rumors: there has long been talk of Apple TV turning into a console of sorts, but last month's update deflated enthusiasm since the latest evolution uses Apple's A12 Bionic, a powerful chip - admittedly - but not enough to go along with all the games.
Apple: new console and new chip for games
The family of processors Apple Silicon of which the M1 used in Mac mini, iMac, MacBook Air and Pro and iPad Pro is the first component, makes efficiency and flexibility its best qualities. Despite its very small size, it is a modular chip that engineers can configure during the project according to the intended use.
The RAM, internal memory and even the GPU or "graphics processor" are modular, as demonstrated for example by the MacBooks available with 7 or 8 core GPU. So it's not a gamble to assume that Apple has a hybrid chip in the pipeline to meet different needs - specifically those of gaming - obtaining better graphics performance.
In the past few hours, the Korean portal Clien has bounced the news that Apple is developing a hybrid console similar to Nintendo Switch with a hardware platform (or SoC, System on Chip) from the remarkable graphics capabilities, with a GPU far more accustomed to the current one, which accompanies the chip M1 of Mac and iPad Pro, to support the graphics needs of games.
An unprecedented SoC that would have a faded relationship with the M-series chips, and for this reason it would give birth to a separate family, able to adequately support the heaviest titles and also the so-called ray tracing.
What is ray tracing and why is it important
Ray tracing is a rendering technique (i.e. drawing a three-dimensional shape) capable - as the word itself suggests - of tracing light rays in their path and in their interaction with the objects of the scene. With the ray tracing technique - that understandably needs a lot of graphic power to give back credible results - it's possible to simulate the illumination of a scene in a coherent way from the physical point of view and to generate reflections, shadows and refractions able to increase immersiveness and involvement.
To make this eventual attempt by Apple finally succeed it will be necessary to take care of every detail, and in Cupertino they would be ready to do it.