A strong visual experience is becoming important on large-screen devices, at home or traveling. Graphics in the iPad Air 2 are 2.5 times faster than in its predecessor. Meanwhile, the A8 chip in iPhones -- which doesn't provide the level of graphics of the A8X -- is more about balancing performance and battery life.
"That is a reflection of Apple looking at the market more holistically and not only do they want to hit the high-end, but they also want to take a nuanced approach to targeting the market," said David Kanter [CQ], analyst at The Linley Group.
Meanwhile, a new Apple TV set-top box could be on its way, and the strong graphics in A8X could add support for 4K TVs, said Nathan Brookwood [CQ], principal analyst at Insight 64.
"Apple wants to make sure it operates with 4K displays," Brookwood said.
Apple's mobile devices and laptops don't stand out for gaming, but the A8X could lead to a separate product that enables 4K gaming on TVs, Brookwood said. And while it's not yet clear whether Apple will ever release a TV set, the chip lays the groundwork for the company to build a 4K TV, Brookwood said.