As anyone close to me will tell you, my dislike of Apple products is well-documented. It’s not born of any malice towards the tech giant; I just never got along with Apple’s hardware, and to that end, I’ve never spent a dime of my own money on them.
Of course, this would completely disqualify me as a tech journalist if it weren’t for the fact that in order to get ahead in this line of work, you sometimes have to use kit you don’t like. My first dalliance with Apple was actually a hand-me-down iPod, followed by a similarly hand-me-down iPhone; later on, I used iMacs at university and then (begrudgingly) used a MacBook Pro for my work on Maximum PC magazine. Naturally, I’ve also had to stick my hands into macOS from time to time during my work here at TechRadar.
But I didn’t really like any of it. Yes, I understand the advantages of Apple’s tech, and I’ll never stop being impressed by how well the company’s first-gen in-house M1 silicon performs; it just doesn’t float my boat, personally. I guess I’m just a Windows boy at heart - although recently I’ve been compelled to wonder if there might be a mythical Apple product out there that I would actually buy.
The problem with gaming on Mac
I’ve been a lifelong PC gamer, ever since my parents bought a desktop computer capable of running the very lightest of online browser games. I think that’s part of the reason why I never gravitated toward Apple; the historically limited game selection on macOS wasn’t appealing when there was so much more to play on PC.
But I’ve also been a lifelong fan of gaming handhelds, beginning way back with the original Nintendo Game Boy and running through virtually every major handheld console, from the PlayStation Portable to the Nintendo Switch and everything in between. This is where I think Apple could truly succeed - wait, hear me out!
Apple has been getting serious about gaming for a little while now, and there’s no denying the power of Apple’s M-series silicon; the upcoming M3 chips promise to be a serious step up in terms of graphical performance, and macOS Sonoma features a nifty-looking new Game Mode for optimizing game performance (as well as a revamped Metal 3 toolkit for developers).
Yes, I know the best phones are becoming more and more capable of running games, but let’s be honest: trying to play the majority of modern games with only touchscreen controls sucks, and third-party controller solutions like the Razer Kishi are a band-aid at best. The fact is that most phones - not unlike the uber-successful MacBook - simply aren’t designed purely with gaming in mind.
That’s why I’ve been so enamored with the recent rise of PC gaming handhelds, such as the Valve Steam Deck and the upcoming Lenovo Legion Go (expected to be revealed at IFA 2023). Having that level of performance in a purpose-built gaming device I can take with me on the go? That’s a winner right there.
Why is Apple the right choice for this?
Just think about it for a moment. Apple has been able to achieve frankly phenomenal performance in the MacBook Air, considering the device is very thin and entirely passively cooled.
Even the Nintendo Switch Lite has a fan vent! Given that the M1 chip was surprisingly capable of gaming, I can’t wait to see what M3 is capable of - and a dedicated device would be the perfect showcase of its gaming potential, as well as a more visible, tangible commitment to gaming than what we’ve seen so far in macOS.
Lastly, as much as I hate to admit it, Apple definitely does have a knack for designing tech with a pleasing degree of tactility. I’m talking about stuff like the Magic Keyboard, the classic iPod’s touch dial, and the satisfying (though rapidly disappearing) physical buttons found on the iPhone.
So I’m speaking to you directly now, Tim Cook, Apple CEO. Please give me the iDeck, or whatever you want to call it. I promise I’ll become a bona-fide Apple fanboy if you do this. Hell, I’ll even take back all the mean things I said about the Apple Vision Pro.
Actually, no I won’t. That thing haunts my nightmares.