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Apple’s New Toy

So yesterday was the much-anticipated announcement from Apple, unveiling the iPhone. My IM window lit up from my friends who are part of the ‘Cult of Mac’ about the new product, and I’m sure at least one friend has a new sale up on eBay in an effort to fund an iPhone purchase. I’m a Mac user, and appreciate the elegance, style, UI, and…well, usually everything down to the packaging. Due to being a gamer, I’ve never purchased a Mac for home use. Their support for games, and developer’s support for the Mac platform, has been spotty at best.

One thing that jumped out at me yesterday was a slide I saw on the Engadet write-up of Steve Jobs’ keynote.
Applie iPhone Slide

I was reflecting on this slide, and realized…isn’t this one of the same issues facing games? Over the past two or three years it’s gotten MUCH better, with games like DDR, Donkey Conga, SingStar, and now the Wii. But those are still FIXED controllers, and worse yet, only work with one or two games (aside from the Wii-mote).

Think about the handheld gaming market for a moment. The Nintendo DS is the reigning champ. Why? I’d argue part of the reason is the duel-screen hardware that allows developers to utilize the touch screen in new and unique ways. It isn’t FIXED, they can experiment and innovate with new control schemes and designs that can’t be used on a traditional handheld device (like a phone or most other handheld gaming systems).

I believe Apple has a VERY interesting opportunity here (aside from the obvious opportunities in the mobile phone market). This device has the potential to unintentionally turn into a gaming monster, IF (and this is a HUGE if) Apple goes against it’s long standing history and opens up a little, and provides developers (large and small…the small developers often create the biggest innovation) a Software Development Kit (SDK). I’m willing to bet we can already do some interesting web-based games via flash that would run smoothly on the device, but we could create much more powerful games if Apple opens up a little. Considering I saw the word “Patent” and the phrase “heavily patented” on several write-ups of this device…I’m not holding on to much hope.

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