Apple has announced the iPhone 15 line. The Pro versions have quite significant differences from other models, but we, as game developers, are mainly interested in the USB-C connector with support for USB 3 and the new online system of 3 nanometers. Apple A17 Pro chip.
A fast USB port will, in theory, allow you to “load” test builds almost instantly (unlike the antediluvian USB 2.0), which will significantly speed up development, debugging and testing iterations, both for programmers and QA (e even test farms). Although evil tongues say that the kit will only include a USB 2.0 cable, and to unlock the potential of the new port it will be necessary to purchase an expensive cable separately. But this is more of an internal kitchen: what about the new processor?
It is worth noting that over the last few years Apple already has the palm in both performance per CPU core and mobile graphics processor speed. This time they promise us that the CPU has become even up to 10% faster with the same number of cores: two productive and four energy efficient.
In terms of performance, Apple devices are currently the least problematic for mobile game developers: frankly, if not excessive, then sufficient. For example, the neural engine for accelerating AI has become twice as fast, so what? Even though we hear about AI in every computer today, there aren’t many real applications in game development. We will assume that this is a basis for the future.
And finally, the most interesting thing for a graphics programmer: the A17 Pro received a completely new graphics processor with a shading architecture developed by Apple itself (but this is not certain. Until the iPhone 8, Apple used PowerVR cores, which were probably used as a base for its own Apple GPUs). The new six-core GPU is said to be up to 20% faster, supports new technologies like Mesh Shading, and also has hardware-accelerated ray tracing, four times faster than software implementation.
Game development immediately began to accelerate: the release of console games Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4, Death Stranding this year, as well as Assassin’s Creed Mirage next year, was announced on the iPhone 15 Pro. Not simplified mobile versions , but complete. Full-fledged console games! A bold statement, let’s see. For example, a portable Steam Deck doesn’t run all games even at 720p. It is also not clear whether ray tracing will be used in these games: the technology works with great difficulty even in modern games. desktop video cards 4x acceleration sounds impressive, but it could be a simple low base effect.
On the part of mobile game developers, such performance is, of course, welcome, but it only aggravates the main dilemma: what to do with the huge performance imbalance between Apple devices (from 125 to 250 thousand rubles for a new product) and budget. Android smartphones? You’ll have to cut the graphics for the sake of very weak devices, preventing the new iPhones from shining, or throw away the potential audience. One thing hasn’t changed for now: Apple continues to lead the way in innovation.