Ray tracing, upscaling by Metal FX and Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Has the iPhone 15 Pro become a console like any other?
This is neither the first, nor certainly the last time that Apple highlights the gaming qualities of its smartphone. As usual, the back-to-school Keynote was also an opportunity to highlight the performance of the iPhone in play and more precisely that of its new chip, the A17 Pro. Demonstrations, video clips and other testimonials from development studio managers, all of this is nothing new to anyone who has ever attended a presentation from Cupertino. In reality, it is in the details of the announcements and in the technologies used that Apple’s real offensive on gaming is hidden.
At the heart of the gaming proposition of the iPhone 15 Pro, there is obviously the A17 Pro chip, reserved for the high-end version of the smartphone. Engraved in 3 nm (it is the first in the world in this case), it is capable of carrying an unprecedented quantity of transistors (just 19 billion) which gives it unprecedented power in this segment. Concretely, compared to the A16 Bionic chip which equipped the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple estimates the performance gain at 10%. As for the GPU, the progress would be even greater since the gain of an additional core (6 cores compared to 5 previously) would increase performance by 20%.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Resident Evil 4 Remake on the iPhone
This performance gain is an essential step to make the iPhone 15 a “console”, but it is not sufficient. Apple’s strength is to have understood this and not to have been content to communicate on a smartphone more powerful than the competition.
What changes the situation this year is the use of technologies proven in video games and which will ring in the ears of gamers. Thus, the A17 Pro is capable of hardware acceleration in ray tracing. Same for theupscaling in Metal FX. This technology, which competes with Nvidia’s DLSS and Intel’s XeSS, comes directly from Macs and is what allows Apple to announce an unprecedented feat: native sharing of Assassin’s Creed: Mirage on the iPhone 15 Pro. The Ubisoft title will not be the only major game to enter the iPhone catalog. It will quickly be joined by The Division and Resident Evil 4 Remake.
On paper and in terms of power, the iPhone 15 Pro is getting closer and closer to a gaming console, but is it a serious competitor for a PS5 or Xbox Series X?
Gaming on a small screen, is it possible?
If we do not doubt the ability of the latest iPhone to correctly run these prestigious titles, several questions remain: is the smartphone the appropriate medium to enjoy such titles? THE ray tracing on a small screen has any interest? With a screen diagonal of 6.7 inches, at best, (only 6.1 inches for the smallest version of the iPhone 15 Pro) which could also be “polluted” with touch controls, the player experience is Is she at the level? Of course, we are slowly getting closer to the diagonal of a Nintendo Switch (7 inches), but we also have to deal with the Dynamic Island, which replaces the notch, but which sizes the image a little more. Consequently, it is entirely possible to question the official version, the one which states that “mobile games are more immersive than ever, with ultra-detailed environments” and all without using cloud gaming.
Ultimately, Apple’s prowess is notable, the power achieved by the iPhone 15 Pro and its ability to run titles currently reserved for “real consoles” should make everyone agree, but it does not The fact remains that to compete with the PS5, the iPhone has a huge disadvantage: that of being a smartphone above all.