Manzana tried to make a game console in 1996 called “Pippin” and it turned out to be a footnote in gaming history. However, today’s Apple is a very different company that we believe it should make a console.
Nothing but rumors
There are always rumors about new products Apple is working on that will help it disrupt a market that it is not currently a part of. Sometimes these rumors turn out to be true, but we have yet to see any real evidence of a handset , an electric car or a TV from Apple AR . There are also rumors of a apple game console , similar to the Nintendo Switch. That rumor also doesn’t have evidence we’ve seen to back it up, but we think it’s actually a great idea for Apple to create a gaming console.
Apple has the market (and the cash)
While major players may think that major console brands like Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation are making the biggest profits in the video game market. However, thanks to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games, it has been revealed that the profits from Apple video games are more than those of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo together. In other words, Apple is already a major player in the gaming market, but it doesn’t have a dedicated gaming hardware platform yet.
Considering that Apple is (depending on the day of the week) the most or second most valuable company in the world, it certainly has the cash reserves to make a dedicated gaming console a success. Combined with the amount of profit you’re already making from gaming across the Apple ecosystem, formally entering the console space seems like a logical way to expand this part of Apple’s business.
Apple has the hardware
Apple has now completely switched to its own CPU and GPU hardware. Known as “Apple Silicon,” you’ll find internal hardware on all Apple devices except the Mac Pro desktop workstation, with a version of Apple Silicon slated for a future release.
Consider the system on a chip (SoC) Apple M1 I know found in the latest 13-inch MacBooks Pro and Air, iPad Pro and Mac Mini. The CPU inside the M1 is comparable to Intel Core i7s and even i9s found in Intel MacBooks and the GPU is in the same performance class as the PlayStation 4 base model. The M1 can also run without active cooling, which is like It was implemented in the M1 MacBook Air and iPad Pro. Note that the much less powerful Nintendo Switch requires active cooling to maintain stable performance and has a relatively short battery life.
Apple GPUs in the SoC M1 Pro and M1 Max they’re in the same performance class as the latest high-impact consoles from Sony and Microsoft. In short, Apple has the hardware to make a competitive console. Be it a handheld or a home console.
Apple has the software
Apple has been constantly working to make its software ecosystem friendly to gamers and game developers.
The app store is basically the same as the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, or the Xbox store. It is a walled garden where users must buy games and the platform support makes a cut. The main difference is that you can still buy physical games for current consoles, although the winds are certainly blowing towards an all-digital future.
Apple also has a subscription gaming service in the form of Apple arcade , just like console brands do. It still doesn’t have the essence of something like Game Pass by Microsoft but in the mobile space, it offers the best selection of titles without mobile gaming errors, such as in-app purchases, microtransactions, and advertising.
Apple also has its own graphics API ( Metal ) and an existing development environment. There are games on iOS that use the same game engines as console games. While they are relatively rare, you can also play a select number of console ports like Grid Autosport or The Talos Principle.
Not only can you play these games, but Apple has standardized controller support on their devices. This means that any game on iOS with controller support should work with Apple certified drivers. This includes controllers for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series consoles. This started with Apple’s MFi (Made for iPhone / iPod / iPad) program, which unified third-party controller support, and is today the most comprehensive mobile controller standard.
Apple (more or less) already has consoles
If you think about it, there is no fundamental difference between playing on a device like Apple TV and a video game console. The same goes for the connecting an Xbox or PlayStation controller to an iPad and load a game. The gaming experience on Apple’s mobile and connected devices is already console-like and, of course, consoles are fulfilling these halfway by offering streaming apps.
At this point, you might be wondering why Apple needs a dedicated console if your devices are already nearby. That’s a fair point to raise, but there are some issues with the operation of games on Apple devices today.
First of all, unlike a game console, your mobile games may crash or stop working if you update your device. The worst example of this occurred when Apple dropped support for 32-bit applications . Any developer who thought it was not worth the effort to update their games left gamers on the sidelines. This is not like going from one console generation to another, users lost access to the software on their existing devices, even though the applications were working before the operating system update.
Second, although Apple devices perform well in games, they are not specifically tailored for it. There are hardware and software features and implementations that hold these devices back. If Apple made a dedicated console, they could, for example, remove low-power efficiency cores and use that space for more GPU cores. The best version of iOS games would live on the Apple console.
Having a dedicated Apple console also changes the incentives for developers, who now have a target platform with (presumably) long-term support and stability. In the end, making your platform attractive to developers is key, as a console without games is a paperweight.
Apple doesn’t have the games (yet)
This brings us to the first big problem with the idea of Apple making a console: Where are the games? Unlike the big console companies, Apple does not currently make its own games. Developers may be paid to create games for services like Apple Arcade, but there are no Apple game developers of their own.
In recent times, Microsoft has been on a developer buying spree, racking up large franchises such as Quake , Fallout Y The Elder Scrolls , whose future releases now they will live exclusively on their platforms . The last piece of the puzzle for an Apple console would be the establishment or acquisition of game development studios. This would also be quite difficult to hide! So if Apple starts publishing game development jobs or buys studios, the odds in favor of an Apple console increase.