Once called the tablet, the iSlate, and even as the iPod XL, Steve Jobs’ newest offering is upon us and it finally carries with it an official name: the Apple iPad.
The iPad is expected to allow its users to perform a variety of tasks – most of which will be uber-cool of course. But one thing that many people are excited about the Apple iPad is its potential for gaming. After all, its more portable cousins, the iPhone and the iPod Touch, were surprise hits for avid gamers. These smaller gadgets provided amazing gaming goodness that was completely unexpected, given their seeming limitations.
What can gamers expect from the bigger and more powerful Apple iPad?
A lot, it seems, if we are to judge the number of big-time third-party developers signing up for this amazing device. Video game giant Namco is already lining up some ports of its classic arcade games. Firemint, the studio behind fantastic hits like Real Racing GTI and Flight Control, has openly stated that they will be creating enhanced versions of their games for the Apple iPad. Popcap, one of the most popular casual gaming developers today, have kept mum of their plans for the system, but they have always lauded the Apple iPad and industry experts predict that it’s just a matter of time when Plants vs. Zombies and other bestselling titles will find their way in Apple’s newest magical gadget. Epic Games, creators of the Gears of War franchise, has readied a tech demo of the unreal engine – the most widely license game engine in the world today – running smoothly on the device. Electronic Arts have also expressed their desire to publish games for the system.
How does the Apple iPad fare against more established portable gaming consoles in the market today?
Aside from having a bigger screen, this portable system is more powerful than both the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. The Sony PSP’s newest incarnation, the Sony PSP Go!, can only boast of a 333 MHz processor (though firmware updates can increase the power to as much as 500 MHz which was seen in games like God of War: Chains of Olympus), while Apple’s makeshift gaming system stands tall with a whopping 1Ghz of processing speed. The Nintendo DS is even less powerful, with one 67 MHz ARM9 and one 33 MHz ARM7.
The Apple iPad is not a dedicated gaming machine. It is understandable that when it comes to the depth of its library, the Apple iPad will lag behind the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS. But this doesn’t mean that there are a limited number of games for the Apple iPad. It already has the entire gamut of titles developed so far for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, all of which will be playable on the system. And developers have committed to creating exclusive titles for the device.
And with the iPad’s touchscreen and tri-axis motion sensing technologies, the level of interaction that will be provided by the games created for the system will be incomparable.
The Apple iPad is not a dedicated gaming machine, yes. But its potential for gaming is truly very promising.