When Apple was rumored to launch a games subscription, not streaming, service, there was a great deal of doubt and skepticism. Even when Apple did launch Apple Arcade with a rather strong selection of iOS exclusives, some still doubted whether it will be a profitable venture. As some bluntly put it, Apple just doesn’t really get gaming, which is why this rumor about the company making a “Switch-style” handheld gaming console not only sounds too good to be true, it’s almost cruel to those getting excited over it.
The source of the rumor alone is already suspect since it comes too anonymously outside of the usual channels and army of tipsters. The details included in that rumor are also rather too juicy to the point that you do suspect it as well. They do have the makings of an excellent mobile gaming device, which is probably also why it sounds almost believable.
The rumor says that Apple’s gaming device will introduce a new custom silicon that isn’t the A chip it uses for iPhones or the new M series in the M1 Macs and iPad Pros. This chip will supposedly have better GPU performance and ray tracing support, the latter of which is the buzzword in gaming thanks to NVIDIA’s RTX GPUs. Such a chip, however, would fly in the face of Apple’s current lineup and marketing strategy where it is trying to prove the Apple M1’s superiority. It would be a disaster if it then comes out with a chip that basically says the Apple M1 is, in fact, inferior.
The rumor also claims that Apple is negotiating with the likes of Ubisoft to develop games for the device. While not entirely impossible, the last time it showcased a major game developer’s work on its platform was with Epic Games’ Infinity Blade series. Given how those two are now the worst of enemies, it’s unlikely Apple will be too keen on such a partnership anytime soon.
In the final analysis, an “Apple Switch” gaming handheld just isn’t in Apple’s nature. It is more likely to just highlight accessories that turn iPhones and iPads into gaming devices or upgrade the Apple TV to become a home console. It is, after all, shifting to a services-oriented business, and adding a new device category to its lineup is going to be counterproductive.