Game Porting Toolkit is Apple’s latest developer-facing games effort introduced at WWDC. The new tool marries together Wine, the not-emulator, with some Apple Metal graphics API wizardry. Developers get a real-time look at their Windows game on the Mac to help speed the porting process. But getting games running on the Mac platform has never been the issue. I take a look at the historical and modern landscape of this in a guest oped for my alma mater, iMore.
The conventional narrative around Apple and games is that Steve Jobs didn’t like games, discouraging their development on the platform early in its existence, fearing that the Mac would be dismissed as a toy and unsuitable for business use. That original sin cascaded throughout the decades to leave the Mac a barren wasteland for games. Jobs has been dead since 2011, however, and Apple’s managed by living people making those decisions today.
That also conveniently ignores the fact that Microsoft weaponized DirectX to create the Xbox, making certain by result that Apple would always be an also-ran when it comes to games. Decades of Windows game dev tech debt means a developer culture that’s not Mac-friendly, along with a business culture that doesn’t see value in chasing the meager scraps of the Mac market when there are bigger fish to catch, like consoles and mobile.
Game Porting Toolkit tells developers that Apple has performant gaming hardware. But in some ways, Apple needs a Game Porting Toolkit for the rest of the game business. That’s a much taller order, and not something that Apple can fix with patches to Wine and Metal.
We all have finite budgets – both financial and attention – to spend on entertainment. The value proposition of Apple TV+ leaves me cold right now, and I explain to Ken Ray why on my final installment (for this round, anyway) of his “In a Few Minutes” podcast.
There’s so much talk these days about smart homes. And there’s a lot of effort to push devices and accessories that work with Siri, Alexa, Google Voice. But when everything from doorbells to air purifiers get “smart,” it’s time to step back and see where having a smart home actually makes sense, and where it might be gilding the lily. Ken Ray and I hash out the details in this installment of “In a Few Minutes.”
Apple earlier this month announced that WWDC 2020 would be an online event only, ending weeks of speculation about what the company might do in the wake of COVID-19’s spread and the corresponding containment efforts. It’s led some in the blogging community to wonder if Apple has the ability to pull it off. From where I’m sitting, it already has.
Had a nice (and quick – less than 20 minutes) chat with Kelly Guimont for the Mac Observer’s Daily Observations podcast. Subjects ranged from the Mac App Store, Twitter polls and how the App Store ranks as a service.
Had a great time chatting about Apple with Jonathan Ruiz and Mark Fransen recently on their Everyday Robots podcast. We ran the gamut from discussing the idea of changing user default apps in iOS to what an ARM or AMD-based Mac might look like, ruminated on future “universal” app purchases thanks to Catalyst on the Mac, and all sorts of other stuff.
My latest podcast appearance with Space Javelin is available for your consumption. I filled in for regular host Mike, talked about the iPad’s recent 10th anniversary, coronavirus and its effect on Apple, cool free iPhone software and much more.
The iMac debuted 20 years ago. It’s not hyperbole to say that it’s the computer that saved Apple and set the stage for Apple’s ascendance to becoming the biggest tech company in the world. All that said, Apple’s lost something in the translation – while the iMac is still a fixture in Apple’s product line, it lacks some essential qualities of that first model. Its personality has changed. The iMac has gotten harder. It’s lost the sense of whimsy, fun, and wonder that made the first iMac such a joy to use.
The last few weeks have seen an explosion of discontent with the quality of the core apps of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Mac computers — not only its OS X and iOS operating systems, but programs and services such as iTunes, Music, iCloud and Photos. Not only do the programs work poorly for many users, but they don’t link Apple devices together as reliably as they should. These complaints aren’t coming merely from users but several widely followed tech commentators who used to fit reliably in the category of Apple fans.
This problem hasn’t come out of nowhere. It’s been simmering for a very long time. Apple’s inability to keep iCloud services working consistently, trouble with multiple device sync, apps not working right, and stupid UX and UI decisions have been compounded.
It’s a problem that grown through years of increasingly intricate and complex technologies. Increasingly, users are frustrated that Apple products simply don’t work the way they’re advertised.
Simple is hard. Apple used to simple well. Apple’s software engineering, under Craig Federighi, needs to take a very close look at what it’s doing and rediscover what simple means again.