Down to the Me­tal

Mac Format - - APPLE OPINION -

Mac lag be­hind Win­dows in these key ar­eas. Ap­ple’s Me­tal aims to be the so­lu­tion, of­fer­ing im­proved ren­der­ing per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency. In this fea­ture, de­vel­op­ers ex­plain how Me­tal will im­pact on the apps and games you love, and what it means for the fu­ture of the Mac.

For the unini­ti­ated, soft­ware engi­neer and writer War­ren Moore (met­al­byex­am­ple.com) ex­plains that Me­tal is “a graph­ics ap­pli­ca­tion pro­gram­ming in­ter­face (API), which means it’s a way for apps to get vis­ual con­tent like text and im­ages on to the screen”. More par­tic­u­larly, it’s a “3D graph­ics API, use­ful for 3D el­e­ments com­monly seen in games, and vis­ual ef­fects – lights, shad­ows, ma­te­ri­als – that bring such games to life”.

First in­tro­duced in iOS 8, Me­tal is a sort-of suc­ces­sor to the broadlyadopted graph­ics API OpenGL, which Moore notes was, un­til re­cently, the only 3D graph­ics API sup­ported on the Mac, and “un­til its latest re­vi­sions – not yet avail­able on OS X – had sig­nif­i­cant sys­temic in­ef­fi­cien­cies”. By con­trast, Me­tal gives de­vel­op­ers more di­rect ac­cess to your Mac’s graph­ics pro­ces­sor unit (GPU), which re­sults in im­proved per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency. This, says Moore, means de­vel­op­ers can “build faster, more ef­fi­cient apps us­ing hard­ware al­ready in the hands of mil­lions of Mac own­ers”. And since Ap­ple “re­built some chief com­po­nents of OS X on top of Me­tal, this will bring

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