Rumor suggests Apple is developing a console rivaling Nintendo Switch
Apple has long abstained from launching products and software features that would attract gamers to the company's ecosystem. However, if rumors circulating on the Korean forum Clien.net are to be believed, Apple could be in the process of developing a Nintendo Switch rival. The rumor suggests that Apple's product would feature an all-new processor, and enhanced GPU performance. Here are more details.
The rumor on the Korean forum was first spotted on May 7 by a Twitter user who goes by the handle FrontTron. The rumor suggests that the Cupertino-based giant doesn't intend to use the A-series or M-series of processors found in iPhones and MacBooks respectively. The original forum post lays emphasis on the rumored product's enhanced GPU performance and support for ray tracing.
Conventional videogame visuals are displayed by combining in-game 3D models, the gamer's perspective, and scene lighting into a 2D image using a proven technique called rasterization. Ray tracing essentially generates images by calculating reflections, refractions, and the overall path traced by billions of light rays from multiple sources illuminating a scene. Real-time ray tracing is highly resource-intensive and severely impacts a game's frame-rates.
To put the impact of ray tracing into perspective, the 1997 game Quake 2 runs smoothly on PCs from its day. However, with full ray tracing enabled, Quake 2 RTX can bring today's top-of-the-line gaming PCs to their knees.
In fact, real-time ray tracing is so resource-intensive that even top-end gaming PCs struggle to deliver acceptable frame-rates with it enabled. Not to mention, the computational power required would have a proportionally significant impact on the battery life and thermal performance of the said handheld.
If implemented, ray tracing already puts the rumored Apple console leagues ahead of the Nintendo Switch. The latter is rumored to release in June packing support for 4K gaming in docked mode using NVIDIA's DLSS technology. Furthermore, the rumor suggests that Apple is in talks with Ubisoft, in addition to other famous developers to create or port games to its console.
BGR reported that last month Apple launched a new set-top box with a better processor, but it didn't make any attempt to entice gamers. Around the same time, 30 new titles were added to Apple Arcade, the company's not-so-popular game subscription service available on iPad and Apple TV. These incremental updates won't help Apple's brand value unless the company launches competent hardware for gamers.
That said, the rumor comes from an uncorroborated, unreliable source and doesn't contain specifics regarding launch or the device's internals. Moreover, it seems unlikely that a company that hasn't even used RGB in products would launch a console rivaling Nintendo's offering. We believe that instead, a game controller for the iPad or the Apple TV could be a smarter low-effort move with richer dividends.