Has Apple Changed the Handheld Gaming Landscape?

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When the iPhone 4S first came out late last year, there were some speculations circulating around the net that Apple may just enter the handheld gaming market. Whether or not this rumor prompted some people to sell their old smartphones and replace them with the 4S isn’t really statistically documented, but it did at least prompt a couple of my buddies to further the rumor among our social circles.

Let me just say this up front before we proceed with this article: No, Apple isn’t in the handheld video game market, nor does it plan to be. Going against the gaming giants, though? Now that is an altogether different thing, and one which I will be detailing below; but first, the perfunctory specs report which sparked the rumor in the first place.

It is an established fact that the two biggest handheld gaming companies right now are Nintendo and Sony. They kick-started the eighth generation handheld gaming war with the releases of, respectively, the 3DS and the PlayStation Vita.

The 3DS is powered by a seemingly paltry 266 MHz dual-core processor and a serviceable 128 MB of FCRAM. What it may lack in raw power, however, it more than makes up for with its autostereoscopic 3D screen, along with the now-handheld-requisite-but-still-whiz-bang touchscreen controls and motion-sensing capabilities.

It’s important to note that touchscreen technology was introduced to the gaming world (and to handheld gadgets in general) by Nintendo way back in 2004 with the original DS. Motion sensing was also first commercialized by Nintendo with their Wii console (or the Power Glove peripheral for their old NES console back in the 80s if we’re being strict, although that peripheral didn’t really take off all that well). Given that these two have now become staples for almost every handheld gadget, it isn’t such a stretch to think of autostereoscopy becoming a standard years down the line; that’s just how Nintendo rolls.

The PlayStation Vita, meanwhile, chose to forego technological innovation and (like Sony did with the PSP) instead went with brute force. Sporting a quad-core processor capable of pumping out 800 MHz of processing juice, the Vita also has 512 MB of RAM. These specs make the handheld close to being a “PS3 Lite.” Moreover, Sony also made sure that their new device is equipped with portable gadget standards, implementing touchscreen and motion sensing controls to the already robust 12-button-and-2-analog-stick setup.

It’s easy to see why Nintendo and Sony have been two of the biggest players in the video gaming scene for almost two decades now; but what has this got to do with Apple? Why were there rumors flying around about the company’s supposed gaming market penetration?

The iPhone 4S houses a dual-core processor that generates 800 MHz of power, and also has 512 MB of RAM like the Vita. However, these specs shouldn’t compel you to sell your old iPhone and buy the 4S if what you’re looking for is a dedicated Apple gaming gadget; there isn’t one.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that Apple isn’t looking to challenge the kings; the company just wants to go at it in another arena which could work to its advantage: Throwaway game apps.

I use the term “throwaway” here in the loosest sense, as game apps are anything but. They aren’t “real” video games in the same way that short films aren’t “real” movies. However, they are video games in the strictest sense of the word; they just aren’t full-fledged productions. Despite this – and as proven by the ridiculous popularity of games like Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds – they are quickly gaining ground as the gaming-format-of-choice for most gadget consumers for two main reasons: 1) A good number of these people aren’t real gamers but just folks looking to have a fun distraction in between daily routines; and 2) Most of these gaming apps are free, hence the term “throwaway.”

It would seem that Apple made a good move with this one. After all, it’s the gadgets, and not the games, that they’re ultimately selling; and as long as you realize this, then by all means sell your old iPhone now and replace it with the new one.

Author’s Bio: Leslie Bass is a 26 years old freelance writer and blogger from Fayetteville, NC who specialize writing about technology and gadgets. She currently writes for Cash for iPhones, where you can sell iphone online.

One thought on “Has Apple Changed the Handheld Gaming Landscape?”

  1. I don’t think so…. I think they would rather stay and develop on the current stage of producing iPhones and Tablets to the Market.. and If ever there will be a gaming console made by Apple,
    It would definitely not this year or next year.

    Califa Berks

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