iPad 2: It's All About Gaming, Baby

Lest you have any lingering doubt that Apple’s iOS is a gaming platform to be reckoned with, today’s events hammered the idea home.

The iPad 2, just unveiled today by His Steveness, features a graphics processing that’s nine times the speed of the original iPad. That’s some monstrous horsepower, particularly for a device that was already more powerful than all other handheld gaming devices. And don’t forget, the iPad has a bigger screen than any other handheld console, so the fact that it’s now going to be able to power high-def games at 9x the original’s speed, on all that screen real estate, is incredibly impressive.

The iPad 2 also has video cameras facing front and back, FaceTime video chat, and a significantly thinner, lighter frame. Just like the iPhone 4, the new iPad has a gyroscope, and there’s a new version of iOS coming with it — version 4.3. It comes in two colors — black and white.

Curiously, despite all that extra processing power, Apple didn’t up the iPad’s storage capacity at all. The iPad 2 comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, just like its predecessor. You’d think gamers in particular would crave more space to store downloaded games.

Not a single game was mentioned in the Apple keynote this morning, but did you happen to notice where the Apple keynote took place? It was held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and would you look at that? The Yerba Buena Center is right across the street from the Moscone Convention Center, where the annual Game Developer’s Conference is taking place all this week.

But it gets better: Apple’s iPad 2 keynote this morning took place at the exact same time as Nintendo‘s GDC keynote about its new handheld gaming device, the 3DS. So much for subtlety, Apple!

And what was Nintendo’s big keynote news? That a new Super Mario Galaxy game is coming to the 3DS (good stuff), and that streaming Netflix movies will be available on the 3DS (meh). The company also took some potshots at game “apps” and their “quantity over quality” approach to sales.

Nintendo’s new handheld launches on March 27th.

Apple’s iPad 2, meanwhile, beats them to the punch by hitting stores two weeks earlier, on March 11th.

Apple has declared war on the handheld gaming marketplace. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

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Robin Parrish
@robinparrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

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