Apple is bringing external GPUs into the mainstream with the upcoming High Sierra MacOS update. At the heart of this is the new Metal 2 graphics API, that introduces substantial changes to how the operating system handles graphics.
The real interesting part is support of external graphics solutions. It’s not necessarily new technology, having been introduced with Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 a couple of years ago. However, it hasn’t exactly caught on; with only Razer having made any real progress in convincing people to buy into the idea of having a graphics card separate from the laptop.
With this in mind, Apple is opening orders for the Metal 2 external graphics developer kit. This includes a Thunderbolt 3 capable external GPU enclosure and an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card. Both of which are meant for developers to try to figure out the best way to apply the external GPU.
We’re not entirely sure if this is an indication that Apple is preparing to sell its own eGPU enclosure. But it sure looks like it might happen at some point in the future.
Ideally, this allows MacBooks equipped with Thunderbolt 3 ports to take advantage of a full sized graphics card; while maintaining its maximum amount of portability.
Metal 2 is also introducing a new virtual reality API for MacOS. This will bring developer tools to the operating system, including partnerships with Unreal and Steam VR.
High Sierra is out for developers area beta right now, with a public beta scheduled for later this month. The full public update is set to be released for free (as usual) in the fall.