Darth Vader shows off VR on an iMac

VR, AR, News | June 6, 2017 | By Cassidy Dwelis

As Apple attempted to catch up to graphics giants like Windows, consumers and developers alike wondered what Apple would do to up their game. At its WWDC event Monday, Apple flaunted their new OS “High Sierra” while showing that iMacs now have the ability to support VR content creation. Fans waited in anticipation for Apple to unveil new features for tablets and phones. The company shocked when the focus of the release became video game development.

In an impressive display of force, ILM and Epic Games presented how content creators can edit Unreal 4 levels while in VR. This immersive experience allows developers to edit the game from the perspective of the player. This is excellent for quick tweaks of meshes and effects.

The new 4K iMac also houses Intel’s Kaby Lake processors, 10-bit dithering, and can support a billion colors. They also sport 50 percent faster SSDs and all systems can hold up to 64 gigabytes of RAM. The specs themselves are impressive, and allow for flawless game creation. At first glance, the machine sparkles.

The biggest allure of the new series of iMacs is the inclusion of two USB-C connectors that support Thunderbolt 3. Apple stated that these ports will aid with the support of external graphics cards. The biggest downfall, however, is the cost. With the 4K iMac running at $1299 and the 5K iMac running for $1799, it is still more affordable to build Windows machines. As of now, Apple is bringing to the table what the more affordable Windows computers have already been bringing for years. The question is: what will Apple do to raise the stakes?

The company has announced that it has partnered with Valve to bring SteamVR support to the Mac. Certain VR companies, like Oculus, are still remaining silent on whether they will support Mac development. Apple often times continues to be more of a hindrance than help, so while the 27” iMac’s memory can reach up to 64 gigabytes of RAM, the RAM itself will not be user-replaceable. The Unreal 4 Editor will run on the iMac, but many spectators think that this technology would be amazing and revolutionary if it was still 2015. Most developers would rather have Unreal 4 Linux support than support on Apple.

Many developers argue that they can build Windows machines at a third of the cost, and that the Mac machines are overkill. The battle rages on between Windows and Mac fans. Those who do no like to not touch the insides of their components prefer Macs. Those who strive for cost-efficiency and user modification fight for Windows. Currently, the industry standard for game development is still Linux and Windows, so only time will tell. Will Apple’s inclusion of VR compatibility and Unreal Engine 4 sway the industry in any way? Seeing Darth Vader in VR is a breathtaking experience, but will Apple be able to bring more to the development scene than light sabers and expensive equipment?

For now we’ll just have to wait to see whatApple has to offer and welcome a new competitor into the game development