Technical Reviews

The iPhone 15 Pro could boost AAA gaming support for Mac

OPINION: Apple’s release of the iPhone 15 Pro range was warmly welcomed not only because of the upgraded titanium chassis and introduction of USB-C, but because of the chipset powering it. That chipset, the A17 Pro, could be the key to high-end AAA gaming on a Mac – something Apple has never managed to achieve.

The Apple A17 Pro chipset is the most powerful mobile chipset the company has produced to date. The headline feature is that it’s built on a new 3nm process that results in a pretty seismic performance boost, allowing Apple to fit an incredible 19 billion transistors onto the processor – a 3 billion boost on the A16 Bionic of the standard iPhone 15. 

More specifically, it sports a 6-core CPU and a new 6-core GPU that Apple claims boasts a 20% increase in peak performance. While those claims are hard to verify, we’ve found both the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max to be absolute beasts in benchmark tests, beating the high-end Android equivalents by quite some way in both the CPU and GPU departments.

iPhone 15 Pro on a concrete surface
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This begs the question, then, what’s the point of all that power? It’s not like there are games and apps designed to take advantage of such high performance as they’d be limited to just the two top-end iPhones. Well, not yet anyway.

You see, as well as announcing the iPhone 15 Pro at an event in early September, Apple confirmed that several AAA games – including Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil Village, Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Death Stranding – are set to come to the App Store in the coming months. These will be exclusively available on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max on the iPhone side of things, requiring every bit of power that the A17 Pro has to power the experiences. 

But what does this have to do with gaming on a Mac? Considering Apple has such a wide collection of huge third-party games available for the iPhone, it has never managed to crack high-end gaming on a Mac, at least to the same scale as Windows. Sure, some games are available for Mac, but these usually come months, if not years, after release. 

There have been multiple roadblocks for gaming on Mac. Firstly, developers seemingly don’t think there’s enough of an incentive to optimise game support for macOS or Apple Silicon, with the vast majority of the user base unlikely to spend big on AAA gaming – most people interested in gaming would simply buy a Windows machine instead. Macs are certainly popular, but according to Statista, Macs only made up 13.3% of all PC sales in the United States. And there’s no guarantee that all of those users would want a Mac for gaming.

It’s possible that the iPhone could solve this issue. The iPhone is incredibly popular, with Statista claiming that the iPhone accounted for nearly 49% of all smartphone users in the USA back in 2021. By making games available on both iPhone and Mac, it would substantially increase the user base of potential gamers using Apple Silicon to such an extent that it could suddenly become more worthwhile for game developers to invest in a port.

In fact, Capcom has already confirmed that the Resident Evil 4 Remake will indeed be available on Mac, along with any M1-powered iPad or later, and it’s the same story with Death Stranding too.

Depending on how well these initial AAA game releases are received on iPhone, we could see more developers including both iPhone and Mac as key platforms for AAA games at release.

angled TR wallpaper macbook pro
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This wouldn’t have been possible when Mac was running on Intel chips. With the switch to Apple’s M-series silicon, newer Macs are not only much more powerful and power efficient than their Intel-based counterparts, but also boast compatibility with iPhone and iPad apps due to both the M- and A-series chipsets using the same underlying architecture. 

This means that any M-series Mac can theoretically run any iPhone or iPad app on Mac, and Apple has in the past claimed that it’s as simple as clicking a single button for developers to make their apps available both on iPhone and Mac. This is seemingly the same case for games too.

That’s an exciting prospect that could see even lightweight options like the M1 MacBook Air turned into a lightweight gaming powerhouse rarely seen on the Windows side of things. 

Of course, this is all speculation for now and it’s possible that, with such AAA experiences, there’s more to it than simply pressing a button to make them available for macOS, but we’ll find out for sure in the coming months as those promised titles slowly make their way to the App Store.

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