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Major iOS graphics upgrade hailed by Unity Engine team

Upcoming 'Metal' software will free up memory and CPU resources

Metal, an iOS software update due for release later this year, has been eulogised by one of the industry's most popular game engine vendors, Unity.

Apple introduced Metal at its World Wide Developers Conference in June, and claimed that the new API will give developers more ways to utilise iPhone's processors, GPUs and memory.

Apple says its new Metal API significantly reduces overhead, giving developers more control over resources

Now the team behind Unity, widely believed to be one of the most influential game engines among indie developers, have detailed numerous benefits that Metal could bring.

Plans are also in place to help support Metal with the Unity Engine.

The team believes that Apple's new API will "achieve far greater realism, detail, and interactivity in their games than ever before". This is due to a number of new system features which will free up processing power.

One of Metal's most discussed benefits is how it allows for shared memory across the processor and GPU, giving developers more freedom and control over resources.

By Unity's measurements, Metal dramatically reduces the resources required to run applications and games.

"Based on our testing so far, we have seen API+driver overhead vanish to just a few percent of CPU time. That is a tremendous improvement comparing to 15-40% of CPU time that it used to be before!"

It added that the benefits for a lower CPU overhead are numerous: "You can have better physics, AI or more complex gameplay logic. Put more objects on the screen. Or just enjoy lower battery usage".

Rival engine vendor Epic Games recently demonstrated the advanced graphical capabilities of an iOS device that uses Metal. The video demonstration is posted below:

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Metal is due for release later in the year, tailored specifically for the iOS 8 update, along with an iOS device that uses the A7 chip (iPhone 5S, iPad Air, Retina iPad Mini).

Apple routinely launches new versions of its smartphone every September.