Apple’s developer conference keynote held at San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center left developers’ heads spinning. The flood of new technologies Cook and his VP’s delivered was simply staggering. Among the slew of announcements was Apple’s impressive new technology called Metal.
Metal is a graphics API for iOS, squarely targeted at game developers. Metal’s objective is to eliminate OpenGL by giving developers more power with direct access to the graphics processor. This will allow high-end gaming developers to push the limits of Apple’s A7 (and likely forthcoming A8) processor found within the latest iOS devices. The result is Apple’s CPU and GPU will work together in “seamless harmony” as Apple says, allowing games like Ryse: Son of Rome, to look and feel like its high-end console counterpart on xBOX ONE.
Metal is another tool Apple gave to developers, which continues the onslaught against Android’s massive fragmentation — but might it be used elsewhere in Apple’s product line?
There was not a single mention or reference to Apple TV at WWDC, but technology like Metal is not likely to be left in an iPhone and iPad silos. A revamped Apple TV targeted at the gaming community, allowing more than just networks to dive into the 20 million and growing unit market is something Apple surely has their sites on. Coupling Metal with an all-new A8 processor and next generation Imagination Technology graphics, should put Apple’s diminutive set top box sales on fire.
A new Apple TV leveraging the power and control of Metal is highly likely, but rarely does Apple think small, and such a move would be small in and of itself. The bigger play for Apple is to take Apple TV into UHD (4K) resolution technology, leapfrogging current console solutions, with the latest XBOX ONE only being 720p capable.
Apple could deliver an Apple TV with UHD capable gaming, while selling a few companion UHD TVs with Apple TV integrated within, would be beyond current expectations. UHD movies via Apple TV’s movie rentals, Netflix providing more original content in UHD, and Apple working with a few key gaming companies to deliver the first-ever UHD mass market games for Apple TV eliminates the cart before the horse problem. The consumer thought of “Sure, UHD looks good, but what’s the point when there is no content for it?” is completely eliminated. Metal will tip the gaming scales leaving no question as to which company and technology will rule the living room for years to come.
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