At its WWDC 2017 event on Monday, Apple announced that with the new Metal 2 graphics API in macOS High Sierra, external graphics will be supported by Macs through the Thunderbolt port. Notably, the Cupertino-based company is now selling its own developer kit, termed External Graphics Development Kit, at a price of $599 (roughly Rs. 38,500) on its own website.
As part of this development kit, the developers will get a Sonnet external GPU chassis with Thunderbolt 3 and 350W power supply, an AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics card, Belkin USB-C to 4-port USB-A hub, and a promo code for $100 (roughly Rs. 6,400) towards the purchase of HTC Vive VR headset.
With the new kit, developers can make apps that use Metal, OpenCL, and OpenGL that can now take full advantage of the extra horse power that will be brought by the use of external graphics processors. "The External Graphics Development Kit includes everything you need to start optimizing advanced VR and 3D apps on external graphics processors with macOS High Sierra," the company says on its website.
The development kit is available for the members of the Apple Developer Program and Apple Developer Enterprise Program in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, and the United Kingdom.
As Mac users have often complained the lack of horse power that is available at their disposal, this new integration can help developers make apps that are more demanding but can now be handled with the help of external graphics. This also means that VR gaming as well as apps can now be supported by the Mac models that were otherwise considered underpowered.
We discussed everything Apple announced at WWDC 2017 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast. You can subscribe to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.