Apple designer Jony Ive did not walk out onto the stage today with an Apple-created controller, but there was plenty of gamer-relevant news that came out of Apple’s event this morning.
The ugly-but-functional Game Center application is coming to the Mac in the July-bound $19.99 Mountain Lion operating system update. Game Center handles friends, achievements, matchmaking, and has largely eliminated competition in that category, which used to be fractured across multiple applications with the same intentions. Some still exist, like Open Feint, but they're chiefly focused on developers with intentions to be on platforms like Android.
Game Center is also receiving a number of updates that coincide with Apple’s iOS 6 update, scheduled for a release this fall. There are now challenges, which are one-time, player-driven dares that can also be tied to achievements, if the developer chooses. It will also be connected to Facebook, making friend finding easier.
It’s unclear if these will be introduced early with Game Center on Mac, but one would expect it to be available on every platform eventually.
Apple also made a significant update to its MacBook Air line, upgrading the CPU with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor and apparently beefing up its graphics abilities by as much as 60% (that's Apple's line) over the last model with an Intel HD 400. Complete specs are available on Apple’s website.
That’s nothing compared to the absurdly powerful “next generation” MacBook Pro that Apple introduced, complete with the gorgeous Retina Display that started on the iPhone and recently came to the iPad. This new MacBook Pro also includes a powerful GeForce GT 650M GPU. As with the Air, specs are available on Apple’s website.
Start counting your pennies, I guess.
Apple showed multiple applications to demonstrate the new screen, including Diablo III. One would assume there have been tweaks to the interface to accommodate the high-resolution screen, and I’ve sent a request to Blizzard for clarification.
The 13-inch and 15-inch traditional MacBook Pros were updated, as well, with the 17-inch model getting killed. Specs? You know the drill.
There was no mention of Apple TV at the event. Rumors had suggested Apple might open up an SDK for their living room device, allowing for developers to start writing applications directly to the Apple TV. That didn't happen.