Is Apple Working on a New Gaming Macintosh?

Technologies like Metal and a larger user base are finally attracting game developers to the Mac. Recent rumors suggest that Apple may be working on a new Macintosh equipped for gaming.

By Chand Bellur

January 5, 2020 at 1:13 p.m. PDT

Apple May Be Working on New Gaming Macintosh

Let’s face it, Macs are better than PCs in virtually every aspect, except for gaming (and developing Windows apps). The Windows PC free market has produced myriad different models, from the cheapest, disposable laptop to high end gaming machines.

Apple seems to realize that high end gaming is an untapped market. They’ve been quite successful with mobile gaming. In fact, iOS is the most popular gaming platform on the planet.

Unfortunately, mobile games don’t attract the hard core gamer. You know, the ones who forgo showering and eating to play World of Warcraft all weekend, only to call in sick on Monday and Tuesday to indulge even more. Power gamers desire complicated games requiring a keyboard, mouse and heavy duty graphics capabilities.

Apple has been gradually advancing the Mac, both in terms of software and hardware, to make the machine more attractive to game developers. Working closely with Fortnite developer Epic Games, Apple has turned their Metal and now Metal 2 technology into literally game changing technology.

Simultaneously, Apple has been improving graphics on the Mac. I’m typing this article on a brand new, inexpensive iMac with a gorgeous 27″ 5K display. While this Mac is great for digital art and video editing, it still pales in comparison to (much more expensive) Windows gaming PCs.

Rumors have recently surfaced that Apple is working on an all new Macintosh geared for gaming. This makes sense, given their success in mobile gaming and the recent launch of Apple Arcade. All the Mac really needs now is a better, faster graphics adapter to surpass the average gaming PC. Perhaps with upgrade options, it may outclass most Windows gaming PCs.

Rumors are Weak and Unsubstantiated, But Make Sense

Normally, unsubstantiated rumors are ignored by this publication, as they’re highly speculative and lack newsworthiness. Although this rumor has little substance to it, the move seems logical for Apple.

The Cupertino tech giant just launched Apple Arcade, providing a video game subscription service for both iOS and macOS devices. While iOS devices are suitable and powerful enough for mobile games, most Macs still don’t offer enough power to play games comparable to Windows machines. It’s not so much a lack of capability. It’s more that Apple has never really built a gaming Mac.

Although high end Macs, such as the Mac Pro and iMac Pro are more than capable of playing video games, the problem is that these expensive machines aren’t owned by casual users. They’re typically bought by corporations for employees. For example, a movie production company is more likely to purchase a Mac Pro than an individual.

This is where the rumors start to fall apart. They suggest that Apple will sell this new gaming Mac for $5000. Such a Macintosh already exists. It’s called the iMac Pro. It’s more powerful than most gaming PCs. Again, the problem is, there just aren’t enough gamers who own this Macintosh to woo high-end game developers.

If Apple is really developing a gaming PC, it shouldn’t cost more than $2000. It’s a strategy where Apple must navigate through two thresholds. They need to lower the price on their gaming Mac enough such that gaming consumers will buy the machine. Once they have traction, developers will create more high-end games, which will, in turn, attract more gamers to the Mac.

An expensive, $5000 gaming Mac simply won’t provide Apple with the user base needed to attract game developers. Avid PC gamers will not switch to a Mac that costs as much as a high end gaming PC. If Apple wants a successful gaming machine, it cannot be priced at $5000. Such machines already exist and do not appeal to gamers.

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