Apple revealed its next generation of iPhone devices today during a press conference at its Cupertino headquarters, and the sizes of the new smartphones -- as well as what's inside them -- have some interesting implications for iOS game makers.
Most notably, there will soon be two sizes of iPhone in the wild -- the iPhone 6 and its big brother, the iPhone 6 Plus. Both are larger than any iPhone yet made, with upgraded 64-bit chips and a built-in scaler that may or may not play nice when blowing up extant mobile games to fit the larger screens.
The phones will be available on September 19th, and two days before they go on sale the next generation of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 8, will be released to the public. It's been in beta and available to developers for some time now, so it won't be long before a crop of iOS 8-optimized mobile games for the larger phones hit the crowded (1.3 million apps and counting) Apple App Store.
What does this mean for developers?
With the addition of a new smartphone model, iOS game developers now need to think about supporting an additional screen size. The forthcoming iPhone 6 sports a 4.7" screen with a resolution of 1334 x 750, while the taller iPhone 6 Plus packs a 5.5" screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller took pains to preemptively assuage developer concerns on this front, claiming that the new iPhones will have a "desktop-class scaler" that scales up older apps to fit the larger screens.
In addition, both phones are powered by Apple's next generation of mobile chipsets. You may remember that last year Apple debuted the A7
, its first 64-bit smartphone CPU. Today the company announced that it's forthcoming iPhone 6 devices will be powered by the A8, another 64-bit chip that -- as you might expect -- is both smaller and faster than the previous model.
Apple also trotted out Stephan Sherman -- one of the co-founders of newly-established 'core' mobile game studio Super Evil Megacorp
-- to play a demo of the studio's forthcoming mobile MOBA Vainglory
in an effort to promote the performance-enhancing effects of Apple's 'Metal' mobile graphics optimization tech
The company claims the new tech will allow game developers to work closer to the eponymous metal and build more efficient, graphically-intense mobile titles. It's been developed in cooperation with game and engine companies like Unity, Crytek, EA, and Epic Games, all of whom are expected to debut mobile titles for the new line of iPhone 6 hardware.