Apple first introduced its Metal application programming interface (API) in iOS 8 to improve performance in games. El Capitan brings it to the Mac, but not just for entertainment. Metal is deeply integrated with the system, replacing OpenGL as the way existing technologies such as Core Animation and Core Graphics talk to your Mac’s hardware. Apple claims up to a 50% improvement in rendering performance, and a 50% reduction in the amount of CPU usage when rendering graphics, which is said to have a positive effect on battery life.
In demanding creative apps, Apple has already worked with select developers to ascertain the difference Metal will make – a huge one by Adobe’s reckoning, which reports performance increased by up to a factor of eight. That means there’s power left over to devote to enhance the interactivity of creative tools.
Epic Games says Metal gave it a 70% reduction in CPU use over OpenGL, enabling its Unreal Engine editing tools to render effects in real time.