If one adheres by the new world order of mobile gaming, then one has to give credence to the reality of the traditional gaming console going the way of the dodo. It’s a technological reality that’s coming to fruition at speed of Sonic the hedgehog because of advances in network speeds, cloud computing and leaps in the amount of graphical compute mobile silicons can provide.
In that realm, companies with the best cloud computing technologies are slated to take over the pie from traditional consoles something about which Google and Microsoft are also making strides. When you talk about mobile, which arguably is a bigger thing than traditional triple A gaming, there is one company that is the most well positioned to take advantage of this trend — that’s Apple.
One can say that Apple is losing market share in emerging markets to upcoming Android manufacturers, but it is the undisputed leader when it comes down to mobile silicon which is what gives Apple’s iPhones their mind numbing performance advantage over Android phones in tandem with its vertically integrated iOS and suite of application programming interfaces (API) which make for gorgeous, highly playable and creative games.
With an eye towards mobile gaming, which still more in the now, than cloud gaming which is still a couple of years away from the mainstream, and over a billion iOS devices in the market already, Apple clearly boasts the most potent gaming platform. This brings me to Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad Mini 5.
The iPad Mini 5 may look like something from 2012 when Apple launched the first iPad Mini, but make no mistake, this classic, arguably arcane looking gadget is probably the best mobile gaming gadget that exists.
The reason I write this is because of the deluge of gaming phones coming out in the market like the Red Magic, the ASUS ROG phone and the Black Shark 2 which tout great specs and accessories, some water has to dropped on a lot of hype that these manufacturers are touting compared to reality.
Let me explain why.
- The Mini nomenclature means that it’s compact with its 7.9-inch screen. And this may be a LCD screen, but Apple is masterful at tuning its displays which makes this one a superb display to play games on, watch movies, or read text. It’s great, but it doesn’t have the 120Hz refresh rate of the Pro model.
- What really makes this a gaming beast is Apple’s A12 processor which is incredible for playing games on. The way it’s tuned for iOS, means that gaming performance on the new iPad Mini is still better than the best Android devices in the market that are running Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor. Games run cooler, and also they look more gorgeous.
- Technically speaking, the GPU setup in the A12 processor is also better than what you get with the Nintendo Switch. With updated GPU cores in A12x processor for the iPad Pro, Apple was able to claim Xbox One S level of performance which tells me this iPad Mini 5 is also plenty powerful for most gamers.
- Apple’s iOS is also home to better games. Because of the Metal graphics framework which is designed to work with Apple’s own processors, generally graphics and frame rate performance is better on games which are cross platform with Android, even with older Apple devices.
- Apple Arcade is incoming which is going to be a subscription service exclusive to Apple’s devices. Apple says there are going to be over a 100 titles that will be fully ad free with no in game purchases. Obviously, one can imagine them to be highly optimised for iOS so these games will be high quality, triple A in nature.
- iOS is also generally home to the best games and even when they become cross platform they generally come first on Apple’s platform because developers don’t need to optimise their game for 1000s of devices. Instead, they can just focus on Apple’s limited product portfolio. This has started to change, but still most new games launch first on iOS.
- Apple’s hardware always has a great ecosystem of third party accessories. There are a bunch of controllers listed out on Apple’s website including a steel series one. They usually work well over Bluetooth, more so than accessories for Android gaming phones which are often developed by the manufacturer.
- If you happen to be a user of a lot of Apple products like IPhones and Apple TVs, then these games can be used on those devices as well. Of course, you can do the same with Android, the Apple’s products are all about the refinement of the experience than the exact nuts and bolts of the gadget.
Apart from all these arguments too, the new iPad Mini 5 is just a great gadget to own. It comes with plenty of advantages like its compact size which makes it a great travelling companion.
It doubles as a great ebook reader for your kindle e-books and generally it’s also a great tool for getting work done — for instance, I wrote this entire piece on the iPad mini 5 using its touchscreen on Google Docs, and even edited the photo I took for the story and published it on medium using the app. You can do a lot with it, considering it has almost desktop like performance in a size that’s lesser than a magazine.
For people who didn’t like Face ID on the new iPad Pro, this represents as an option to get the power of the Pro model (almost) but have some of the older niceties that have made the iPad so iconic. It’s also emblematic of Apple’s lead in tablets as it didn’t even need to update the design, and yet this is such a great product better than any other tablet in the market.
PS: There’s no point in a review for an iPad because there is no competiton for it. The question is always which iPad. This is why I decided to write a more interesting piece on why it’s the best gadget for mobile gaming.