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March 12, 2008 // 11:25 pm - I was recently discussing all that has happened with the iPhone in the past week with Arn over at MacRumors. It's pretty amazing to think about, really.

RIM, the "smartphone" industry, the PDA industry, and the handheld gaming industry just got served by Apple. Watch the video.

The iPhone has been out for just eight months now and has already captured 28% of the US smartphone market share (second only to RIM). It already offers, hands-down, the best web browsing experience of any such device and packs a revolutionary interface through which the whole iTunes experience can accessed anywhere, on the go. And that's not to mention e-mail, rich mapping, YouTube -- the list goes on.

But that's really nothing compared to what's coming in June: the iPhone 2.0 update. This free update will bring with it a host of enhancements that will turn the iPhone into the platform for the casual user, the enterprise, and the mobile gamer. Make no mistake -- this is a certainty. Let me explain.

The casual user: (That's you and me.) The iPhone 2.0 update will enable users to access the iTunes App Store through which third-party applications (many of them free of charge) can be wirelessly downloaded and installed on the device. Simple, elegant. On Thursday, Apple released the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) as a free download for anyone that has a desire to create native iPhone applications.

It includes an updated version of Apple's Xcode -- the most advanced development suite available for any platform today, that is able to compile native iPhone executables and run them in the included iPhone simulator. All the power and ease of use that Mac OS X developers have been enjoying for years is now available to would-be iPhone developers.

Given that there are already over 1,000 iPhone Web Apps out there, the number of developers that are drooling, as I type this, at the prospect of creating far more powerful and responsive native iPhone applications is immense. And so will be the number of apps available when the 2.0 update lands.

The enterprise: While the iPhone is exceptional for the web and offers flexible and powerful email capabilities, it currently lacks certain key capabilities that make RIM's BlackBerry a much more compelling communications device for business. With iPhone 2.0, Apple has brought this all to the iPhone.

--Push email
--Push calendar
--Push contacts
--Global address list
--Cisco IPsec VPN
--Certificates and Identities
--WPA2 / 802.1x
--Enforced security policies
--Device configuration
--Remote wipe
--Active Sync and Microsoft Exchange support

With all of these in place, there will no longer be reason for enterprise users to be forced to endure the BlackBerry's limitations in the name of dependence upon its particular strengths.

And let's not ignore the fact that a notable portion of the many native, third-party iPhone applications under development are geared towards the enterprise. Have a look at Epocrates, demoed on the iPhone in the aforelinked SDK rollout video.

The mobile gamer: The Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS are the only platforms of note for gaming on the go. They're great devices with a huge number of excellent titles for each. The PSP is notable for its high resolution screen and powerful chipset while the DS is praised for its innovative touch-screen interface.

How can a phone compete with these platforms when it comes to quality games? Games on phones suck, right? Let's take a look at a few basic specs of these devices.

Sony PSP:
--Processor: MIPS CPU @ 222 or 333MHz (selectable)
--Screen: 480x272 pixels
--Input: D-pad, analog stick

Nintendo DS:
--Processor: two ARM CPUs (67MHz and 33MHz)
--Screen: two 256x192 pixel screens
--Input: D-pad, touch-screen

--Processor: ARM CPU @ 620MHz
--Screen: 480x320 pixels
--Input: multitouch, accelerometer

Surprised? The iPhone has the highest resolution screen of the lot, a CPU that runs at nearly twice the clockspeed of the PSP's, and an input system consisting of multitouch combined with accelerometers that can take the sort of truly innovative game titles that the DS's touch display has brought to a whole new level.

What's more, the iPhone's chipset features "powerful acceleration for embedded 3D-graphics" accessible through OpenGL and Apple's Core Animation technologies, all part of the iPhone OS. It's an extremely solid gaming platform, evidenced by the fact that in just two weeks time EA ported its much anticipated title Spore to the iPhone while SEGA did the same with its hit Super Monkey Ball -- and both developers were new to Xcode and the iPhone development environment.

SEGA in particular was surprised at the ease of development and power of the iPhone, calling the experience of gaming on the device "console gaming." Smartphone gaming, this is not.

And all of the above applies to the lower-priced iPod touch, as well (with a small fee attached to the forthcoming 2.0 update).

There are over four million iPhones out there presently and Apple is shooting for 10 million units sold by the end of this year -- and don't forget about the 3G iPhones that are just months away. When you think about those numbers and what Apple's announcements this week will do to enrich the platform, it becomes clear that the iPhone is absolutely the mobile platform of relevance in this crowded market.

Why would developers choose to expend energies on other less broad, less powerful, less standards-based platforms? Why would users look to any other device?

When Steve Jobs took the stage in January of last year to unveil the iPhone, he told us that it was every bit as revolutionary a moment in technology as the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Looking at where this platform is clearly headed, I'm here to tell you... he was right.

How iPhone stacks up against the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS?

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#15 - ArtVandelae - April 10, 2008 // 8:21 pm
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Quote Originally Posted by aviator View Post
I would wonder how well a strictly touch screen interface would work in handheld gaming.

Touch screen interfaces tend not to work well in those types of applications simply because they lack tactile feedback. It is far too easy to press the incorrect button or even miss it all together.

#14 - amandeep2 - April 10, 2008 // 6:41 pm
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i think it would do much better without the at&t contract, but overall apple did a good job.

#13 - werds - April 8, 2008 // 7:06 pm
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Your also concentrating on gaming systems which are cartridge or UMD based which is obviously removable storage for the games, the iPhone on the other hand would require the games to be synced or downloaded to the phone itself which will be easy enough to do especially with the 8 and 16 GB size. Part of the problem for distribution of the games from third party companies like EA and Square or whatever would be a little more difficult, the games would likely be available through the iTunes store which is kind of a pain since the iTunes store caters mainly to the states and not other countries as much.

Being Canadian I get a limited use of Apple products like the Apple TV and the iPhone mainly because the iPhone doesnt have a carrier in Canada yet and the Apple TV requires downloaded content from the iTunes store which we dont have videos on the iTunes store in Canada yet so I have to go off and get my videos off of dvd or download and convert to mp4 to sync to the Apple TV which is that added step that will take forever. Until the iPhone is more available world wide it wont compete with the hand helds like the PSP and the DS which i own each.

Plus its alot easier to mod the PSP and DS than compared to the iPhone at the moment which is another feature some people look into when purchasing a new gaming system in some cases, not all people but some people.

The potential is there but its ultimately up to the software companies to actually make games for the iPhone if its ever going to compete with the PSP and the DS. I think it'll more along the lines of having functionality for games like you get on a palm pilot like chess and card games etc but wont go too far into games and it will likely stay concentrated around the smart phone features and not as much on the game features, especially with the rumor that Apple is considering releasing their own handheld now, just depends on how that turns out as well.

#12 - Kraken - March 17, 2008 // 10:08 am
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I have a friend with an Iphone. Playing traditional games (like the NES emu) is virtually impossible. Its harder to control that a normal generic cellphone even. I would be excited to play marble-type games like monkey ball, but aside from that and simple touch games it can't do anything. Since the DS and PSP both have buttons and a D-pad they can play a whole lot more types of games. It will also take many years before the Iphone has a games library anywhere near their size.

#11 - wicked insanity - March 17, 2008 // 8:18 am
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For what you have to pay, I don't think the iPhone is good value for money, the PSP which is now really cheap in comparison still has loads of functinality, ther are loads more games and the remote play with ps3 allows near unlimited media availability which is way better than a 8GB SD card. I iPhone isn't designed to be a gaming handheld unlike its competition.

#10 - Omeganex9999 - March 16, 2008 // 2:54 pm
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I want an iPhone, I think it's the next big step in mobile communications, and its features make it very multimedial.

I can't wait to see games on it, unfortunately it's not available in Italy yet... :|

#9 - demonn - March 16, 2008 // 2:43 pm
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There are a lot super games in installer for iphone. Just use installer and you find what you want.

#8 - gokugohanvegeta - March 16, 2008 // 10:58 am
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i want the iphone, but costs too much

#7 - federici - March 15, 2008 // 5:54 pm
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Quote Originally Posted by aviator View Post
I would wonder how well a strictly touch screen interface would work in handheld gaming.

That would be amazing. Though, what would you be able to do? I would think that the only games you would be able to play are simple games like chess, where you move things across a board, maybe evolving into a Final-Fantasy-type game. Shooters and Sports games will be tricky to get to touch-screen gaming.

#6 - Moester - March 15, 2008 // 3:23 pm
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I prefer the Kaiser (ATT Tilt) over the iphone, although, the iphone would definitely be my second choice.