In the months leading up to Apple’s September Special Event, a number of rumors start to swirl about what kind of announcements Tim Cook would make this year. Sometimes these rumors turn out to be true, as was the case with the Apple Watch and the “Plus” line of larger mobile phones. However, one rumor has yet to come true: a standalone video gaming device.
Although the rumors of a gaming console seem to grow louder, Apple has yet to throw its hat completely into the video game market. Of course, that doesn’t mean that each new of generation of Apple products doesn’t have some appeal for gamers. In fact, this year featured several innovations that seem ready-made to expand Apple’s gaming possibilities. Here are four new Apple products that are sure to keep gamers busy for another year.
Gamers have never completely warmed to the iPhone and iPad because of the touchscreen controls, which don’t provide the level of precision that is required for serious gaming. The new 3D touch-enabled screens is a major step toward remedying that. For one thing, the screen can now tell the difference between a light tap and a hard press, which is necessary for distinguishing different attack strengths. It also allows for more realistic driving simulation, since you can use it for more precise speed control. More than anything, 3D touch has a lot of untapped potential, offering game designers yet another fun tool to play with.
The iPhone 6 was already one of the most powerful smartphones on the market, but the 6s completely blows everything else out of the water. The 5.5-inch retina display and A9 chip built on a 64-bit architecture is without match, making it the go-to device for gamers who want to experience graphic-intensive games like Modern Combat 5 or Asphalt 8 Airborne. Apple has even expanded its iPay system to work with these “freemium” games, allowing users to purchase in-game content through its handy pay app. Only time will tell if this attract more gamers who appreciate the convenience of Steam and the PS Store. However, it also has the potential to open certain less-careful games to forms of fraud and credit card theft. The “freemium” gaming model is here to stay, so users would be wise to monitor your fraud risk when making the move.
The iPad Pro
A laptop used to be considered a “desktop replacement.” The new iPad Pro has set its sights on being a “laptop replacement.” This is good news for gamers who want a powerful gaming device with even greater portability. The most interesting new feature is without a doubt the iPen, which could give MMORPG and strategy game players the upper hand by allowing for extra-quick attack and item selection (old school fans can opt for an attachable keyboard option.) It also has a 12.9-inch retina display and a benchmark-quality A9X processor, so games will look great and run at a smooth 60 fps.
The new Apple TV offers the biggest hint that the company might be getting serious about gaming. The new Apple TV has a completely redesigned operating system called tvOS, which features a fully integrated App store so you can easily play all of your favorite games on your TV screen. Apple TV has also been given a substantial stat boost and now features a 64-bit A8 processor and a 32GB hard drive. Not convinced that Apple sees this as a gaming console? A new Guitar Hero will even be released specifically for the platform, and it’s expected to be the first of many titles to make the leap.