Apple is working on a Nintendo Switch-style handheld games console, according to a sketchy new rumor coming from Asia.
According to a post on a Korean forum, shared by Twitter user @FrontTron, Apple is developing a portable hybrid games console, comparable to the Nintendo Switch. While the sourcing of the rumor is suspect, it has gained some visibility in larger news outlets over the past day or two, so we figured it was at least worth acknowledging.
The device will apparently feature an entirely new Apple-designed application processor, neglecting to use an A-series or M-series chip. This chip appears to be specifically designed for gaming and is said to feature enhanced GPU performance and improved ray tracing.
Apple is purported to currently be in negotiations with a number of well-known video game studios, including Ubisoft, the maker of popular titles such as "Assassin's Creed," "Far Cry," and "Watch Dogs," about developing games for the new device.
It is unknown where this console would be placed between devices such as the iPad and the Apple TV, which both offer integration with Apple Arcade and support for a host of external controllers, including some that take cues from the Nintendo Switch's design.
Late last year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said that Apple was working on a new Apple TV model with a stronger gaming focus and the leaker known as "Fudge" said that Apple was developing a gaming-focused Apple TV with an A14X chip.
It is unclear where these rumors now stand given the recent launch of the second-generation Apple TV 4K, which seemed to take a step back in terms of gaming with its older A12 Bionic processor and the redesigned Siri Remote, which lacks the accelerometer and gyroscope present in its predecessor.
Apple did launch its own games console in 1996 with the Apple Bandai Pippin, which was largely unsuccessful and discontinued following Steve Jobs' return to the company. Rumors about the company re-engaging with the console gaming market have circulated intermittently ever since but have never come to fruition.
The reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" said last year that Apple was working on its own gaming controller, and after a spate of rumors about a gaming-focused Apple TV product, it is not completely out of the question that Apple could be working on some sort of games console. Even so, without more concrete information it is important to take this rumor with a heavy pinch of salt.