Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

Apple’s portable console theory makes more sense than ever. Obeys the triangle that Cook is looking for

Apple’s pre-Halloween event that unveiled its new computers with M3 family chips, namely two MacBook Pros and an iMac, left several pleasant surprises and others not so much. Among the first, a change in the layout of the MacBook Pro that kills the 13″ model and the Touch Bar, and introduces a somewhat lower and cheaper version of the 14″ model. Among the latter, some extensions at outrageous prices.

And also among the latter, although it is not Apple’s fault but rather the excessive attention that many of us make of unfounded leaks, the absence of a supposed Japanese video game development studio that would explain the strange time chosen for the event, during the European vigil.

Something that goes further: the absence of any bells ringing for the video game industry regarding the Mac. It would have been a good moment.

More arguments than ever

Apple has been giving more arguments than ever for the Mac to start being seen as a computer for gaming. Another thing is whether they will be enough or not.time will tell. DirectX 12 support for macOS Sonoma, the Game Porting Toolkit itself, and some Sonoma-specific features for video games are the biggest announcements of 2023 in that regard.

Now, if one looks back, it is difficult not to wonder What prevents Apple from launching its own portable console. Let’s review some of the necessary or convenient ingredients for this equation:

  • Own high-performance chips
  • Unified memory
  • Software platform on which to build a version for consoles (as was done with the first iPhone from Mac OS X, or with tvOS from iOS)
  • Logistics and supplier chain control
  • 3D graphics API

And above all…

  • A recent failure with the 2015 Apple TV, which wanted to become a family console in the style of the Wii but was prevented from doing so by product decisions, such as the obligation to make games compatible with the Siri Remote
  • A voracious hunger to continue diversifying its income, both so that its hardware does not depend so much on the iPhone and to grow its Services division

Three legs where “the magic happens”

On this last point, a portable console fits perfectly in Apple’s search for the perfect triangles: hardware + software + services. It’s not something we invented. Tim Cook said it during an interview with Kara Swisher, journalist for The New York Timesin 2021.

We love integrating hardware, software and services, and finding their intersection points because we believe that’s where the magic happens. And that’s what we love. And we love owning the primary technology around it.

There are several product categories that fit into that triangle that Cook describes and that Apple does not yet have, such as new products aimed at the smart home, or the recurring car, but a portable console sounds much more useful than the first and much more viable than the first. second.

Of the five best-selling consoles in history, three are portable. The three from Nintendo, of course. If we expand the ranking, six of the fifteen.

As a phenomenon more similar to what an Apple portable console would be, although bridging all the distances in the world in terms of marketing and various other aspects, there is the Steam Deck, whose sales are not public but are estimated at about four million units. Not bad for a first version. The Wii U in much longer time and being from Nintendo only reached thirteen million.

Apple also has Arcade, which in the four years it has been in operation is perhaps not what we expected, neither in relevance nor in the quality of its catalog, but it could well double its offer with a more substantial proposal for a console, not for a mobile.

That brings us to the next point: the iPhone Pro will now be able to run AAA games (not versions, but ports), but having to deal with adapters or independent controllers, and seeing how we hold the phone, does not end up connecting to an Apple experience.

A portable console would be a perfect opportunity to get:

  • A new physical device to sell
  • A new software platform to commission
  • A new monthly subscription to offer

It is not so common for Apple to launch new families of devices.




















Apple Watch













Time will tell if at some point in the 1920s we see how Apple dares to take a leap that would put it in competition against the video game industry, but it has the ingredients, at least the most complicated ones. The 15 Pro has allowed him to build relationships with AAA video game developers like never before.

Featured image | TechGIndia with Midjourney.

Danish Kapoor