Last year’s Apple event featured a series of game-changing announcements, from the introduction of the Apple Watch to the complete redesign (and upsizing) of the flagship iPhone. So it’s no surprise that the 2015 event was a slightly more subdued affair. There were no shocks to be found in CEO Tim Cook’s presentation, just a steady rollout of upgrades and improvements to Apple’s existing product lines, which are just enough to satisfy the demands of tech-happy consumers for another year.
However, many of the innovations that were announced are aimed directly at the heart of the gaming community. Here are just five reasons that gamers should be excited about Apple’s new product lineup.
The iPhone 6 was already a gaming powerhouse, but this year’s upgrade is almost unbelievably stacked. The 5.5-inch retina display and A9 chip built on a 64-bit architecture puts the iPhone 6s leagues ahead of any mobile gaming device (and any other smartphone for that matter). It also features 16GB of memory and a more efficient battery, so gamers don’t have to worry as much about playing “Final Fantasy 7” without a charge cable.
One of the biggest setbacks of touch screen gaming is the inability to differentiate between a firm or soft touch, which removes a level of precision that serious gamers demand. The iPhone 6s’ 3D touch changes that. For the first time, the iPhone’s touch screen can register even the subtlest of taps or swipes. For gamers that means more precise speed control in racing games and more sophisticated attack options in first-person shooters. It also is interesting to watch game developers explore the gameplay potential of 3D touch, just like they did drag-and-drop and swipe-based gaming.
The Apple Pencil
Touch-based gameplay greatly expanded the notion of what was possible with smartphone gaming. Now, the Apple Pencil has the potential of doing that as well. Not only can it judge the intensity of a tap with incredible precision, but by leaning the stylus gamers can alter the brushstroke thickness of the tip. Of course, the Apple Pencil has been designed with artists in mind, but it has a lot of potential as a game development tool. Plus, imagine the possibility of playing Fruit Ninja with a totally adjustable blade.
The iPad Pro
The 2015 iPad Pro is closer to a fully functional desktop computer, meaning it’s on its way to becoming a viable platform for serious gamers. In addition to the iPen, the new iPad Pro has a fully functional keyboard (sold separately) to give strategy and MMORPG players that much needed breathing room for carrying out an entire arsenal of attacks. Oh, and did I mention the breathtaking 12.9-inch retina display and competition-crushing A9X processor? Yep, it has those as well.
Perhaps the biggest gaming-related announcement came during the Apple TV presentation. Last year, the Apple TV was nowhere to be seen, so an upgraded device was expected for 2015. And Apple did not disappoint. The new Apple TV has its own operating system called tvOS, which features all the TV apps users desire. Plus, it has been upgraded under the hood with a 64-bit A8 processor and a 32GB hard drive. These upgraded stats prepare the Apple TV for its new role as a gaming console that supports gamers’ favorite titles from the App Store. A new “Guitar Hero” will even be released specifically for the platform.