iPhone 4S - What It Means for Games

We've got a new iPhone, new iPods, and a new iOS that will all benefit games.

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Apple's iPhone 4S brings a number of new features to the table, but only a few are relevant to gaming. Chiefly, the A5 processor and its GPU increase the capabilities of the phone considerably. The dual-core A5, the same one found in the iPad 2, offers twice the computing power of the iPhone 4. But the new GPU, a PowerVR SGX543MP2, is where it's really at, and it will offer a seven-fold increase in its capabilities when compared to the iPhone 4. But it's all about the developers who take advantage of more-powerful hardware. The A5 processor has only been used on the iPad 2 until now, and with the processor being deployed to the iPhone 4S, it gives developers a greater impetus to create graphically complex games for a much broader audience. The upcoming Infinity Blade II makes use of the A5's processing abilities.

iPhone 4S

Game Center

iOS 5, the mobile operating system that powers Apple's mobile devices, will also bring Game Center updates with it. Game Center was initially released on iOS 4, and it acts as a social network for games within the Apple world. It records high scores, doles out achievements, and basically lets you compare and share your accomplishments with your friends. But like Ping--Apple's social networking service for music--there was no way to import friends lists from third-party services, which turns out to be a big stumbling block for any new social network. The iOS 5 update for Game Center solves that problem. Game Center on iOS 5 will also let you add a profile picture, browse games without leaving the app, and give you an overall achievement score that is compiled from all the games you play.

Infinity Blade II

iCloud Game Saves

iCloud, which is also bundled within iOS 5, brings some interesting changes for gaming to Apple's devices. Using Apple's iCloud service, developers will let gamers store gameplay data profiles in the cloud, along with saved games. Cloud-saved games should be a boon to gamers with multiple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). With any luck, it will solve the issue of having to start games anew on each device. Developers will have to individually build cloud support into their apps, so it won't be an instantaneous upgrade. Apple will give 5GB of free data to all users, and additional storage can be purchased as needed. Apple will offer an extra 10GB for $20 a year, 20GB for $40 per year, and 50GB for $100 per year. The service will also sync contacts, calendars, documents, photos, and data from various applications.

iOS 5

Additional iPhone 4S and iOS 5 Updates

The iPhone 4S comes with an 8MP camera that has quick shutter speeds and can record 1080p video. Two antennas improve the phone's reception and bandwidth. Apple also demonstrated Siri, a virtual assistant that you can talk to get basic answers, like stock quotes, weather updates, contact information, and more. iOS 5 also brings with it upgrades to the notification system, a new messaging service, reminders, Twitter integration, and an easier to use camera.

The iPhone 4S 16GB will cost $199 with two-year contracts. 32GB and 64GB variants will cost $299 and $399, respectively.

The iPhone 4S will be available on October 14, and iOS 5 will make its way to the public on October 12. It will be available on Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon. For more iPhone 4S coverage check out CNET. (Images courtesy of CNET.)

Discussion

31 comments
doom-day
doom-day

What happened to this blog? It never gets updated.

nomadski69
nomadski69

@Tabain It doesnt matter the size of the company, as a platform iPhone IS David vs Goliath in terms of the sheer number of Android phones vs 1 new iphone a year, thats the only way I meant it, in hardware terms. Its 1 new iPhone per year vs HTC, Samsung, Google, Acer, Sony, LG, ZTE, Dell, Garmin, Lenovo and a whole bunch of other manufacturers pumping out 10 a dozen Android phones. Now if you look at the way nobody does (but should) as an OS battle, well that's a different story, the numbers make VERY different reading. ExxonMobil are still the worlds largest company btw. ;) @m4a5 - RIMM is the NASDAQ name for Research in Motion Limited - http://www.google.co.uk/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:RIMM. Maybe try googling the name before you jump in with both feet? Secondly, the research is comparing each manufacturer against each other. Adding up the bars?? WTF? When your doing this research comparing customer satisfaction, and intentions, you dont "add all the bars up", if you wanted to see how Android performed as a whole, you would take an average. What your suggesting is (rough example) if 10% wanted to stay with 10 Android manufacturers, as a whole Android would have 100% retention rates. Lol.

Tabain
Tabain

@nomadski69 Did you seriously call the world's largest company 'David'?

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

I may get an iPhone 4S soon, but gaming on the mobiles still has a ways to go to catch dedicated portable game devices. The Vita and 3DS are really the way to go. IPhone games are improving, but don't have the development talent of Sony or Nintendo. Touch controls aren't as good as analog sticks and buttons. That's something smart phone developers haven't tried to address. The people saying portable gaming is dying in favor of smart phone games are fools.

otanikun
otanikun

I mean it's nice to have a shinier and faster little device but that's not what true gamers want, most people that I've known and seen playing any kind of games on their little phones always play puzzle games and little time wasters like Angry Birds. I haven't once heard from a hardcore gamer once say, " Dude I am so stoked for XXX XXXX game coming out for the iPod Touch and iPhone! Dude this game is so gonna rock!" Nobody ever will say anything like that because true gamers will always go for the bigger and better things on their consoles or PC's, although it goes without saying that a PC is not a console and nor has it ever been one. Smartphone gaming will never be a substitute for real console or pc gaming, that is just a pipe dream to those that think it can really happen because they're too focused on the sales of individual titles and the prices they're selling for, because they're cheap on a smaller device, why? Because they're basically paying for half a game with many features removed to benefit a smaller form factor, and that is the only reason devices like Android phones and the iPhone are perfect for on the go gaming, but they still face competition from Sony and Nintendo, and if there is a gaming god, Microsoft if and when they ever decide to come up with a handheld XBox or something. Basically it boils down to a few things, pay less and get less? Or pay more and get more?

maxwell97
maxwell97

*sigh* So many closed-minded folks here. If it's not from a "video game" company, it can't be used for "real" gaming. While it's true that dedicated handhelds have some advantage in controls, what it comes down to is software. As great as the hardware in the PSP was, Sony squandered it with their business model. Most people don't want to pay $40 for a stripped-down version of a console game on a portable, and that accounts for the vast majority of PSP releases. The 3DS and Vita are following the same model, and with smartphones being so ubiquitous (iOS and Android both), few grownups are going to carry a big brick of expensive and dedicated gaming, when games on the smartphones they already have are getting into the same league of quality for a much lower price. It's sad, but high-end dedicated portables are a dead business model. And if you doubt that smartphone games ARE in the same league, I humbly suggest that you check out the following sample of smartphone games: Rainbow Six, N.O.V.A. 2, Aralon, Dungeon Hunter 2, Real Racing 2, Dead Space, Tiger Woods '12, and of course Infinity Blade. Then consider that all of these games sell for $7 or less, and tell me how many people are really going to drop $300 to play Uncharted next year.

snake3rules
snake3rules

I'm confused is this article blatantly ignoring the dual screen support and AirPlay?

syam32245340
syam32245340

too many models now. enough of this guys

Danymoon
Danymoon

Apple and their IS**t lines....so like Capcom and and and, with their Street fighter MVC3 Super plus extra 45 versions......f*** them.....producers are mostly thinking recently about getting people's money on all costs.....no quality, no nothing....just money

naruto0187
naruto0187

@AvatarMan96 I completely agree with you. Mobile games will NEVER bring down true gaming that can only be given by true game consoles.

m4a5
m4a5

@nomadski69, Stop being an apple fanboi. The diagrams can't even be trusted because it's RIM, not RIMM (someone who could be trusted wouldn't be that stupid). @MusclesJAM has you beat. If you add all the Android bars then it more than adds up to the iphone...

AvatarMan96
AvatarMan96

What does it mean for gamers? Nothing. It won't make a splash in the puddle of gaming.

apocalypsehorse
apocalypsehorse

the 3ds is AWEFUL only real competition is gonna be the vita.

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

The camera is good and all. But I also want the display to be 1080p.

mtait01
mtait01

I love the iPhone, but I would never choose a mobile phone as my handhelp gaming device when i could pick a 3DS or a Vita

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

I don't understand, Android can do pretty much all these since early this year with amazing horse power under the hood. I am looking at you Galaxy S2 :)

nomadski69
nomadski69

@ MusclesJAM - Sorry dude but thats a load of tosh. Firstly if you actually clicked on the retention rate link I gave you would see 2 graphs. 1 shows that people who buy iPhone are more likely to keep buying iPhones vs Androids. The second shows switchers, which handset people are switching to and from. 55% are switching TO iPhone vs next highest (12% to Samsung) and 10% are switching FROM iPhone, same as Samsung. The big losers are RIM and Nokia who are both losing massive numbers vs gains, the obvious winner from that graph is Apple. Link again - http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/22/iphone-users-demonstrate-strong-loyalty-with-planned-retention-rate-of-89/ BTW The survey was carried out by Insurance research firm UBS, totally independent. Secondly, what do you mean by competition? Apple only entered into the phone market 4 years ago and have Samsung, Sony, HP, Nokia, RIM, HTC, Motorola etc etc as competition. Unlike any of them, Apple only release 1 phone a year so its David vs Goliath. As for better technology, tell that to the courts who recognise Samsung for being the cheap, corrupt, knockoff-charlie company they are. At the end of the day buy the phone you like, either way your being locked in an eco system (Google, RIM, M$ or Apple) but ill say right now, going from personal experience, and with the stats to back me up, the people who hate on iPhones, are generally people who have never had one.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

If a phone could actually run a game that looks and sounds like that trailer,that'd be cool. However, a phone would never become my main game machine. The battery drain,the fact that I could get interrupted by phone calls,,and that fact that a new phone comes out every few months would keep me from dropping handheld consoles. But if I had a reliable powerful phone in addition to a real game machine,that would be optimal.

MusclesJAM
MusclesJAM

@nomadski69 That is because Apple has much less competition. More companies are developing hardware for Android because it is a better system. Not to mention the technology is progressing much faster in the Android market, which is why different companies keep taking the lead. Lastly, The low retention rate does not correspond to loss of customers to Apple. They lose customers to other Android developers who make better innovations.

nomadski69
nomadski69

@ got_ice_tea - 8mp is as high as any mobile phone camera ever needs to be. Having more mp does not equal more quality, and when your sensor size is as small and limited as a mobile phone sensor, having more can actually be detrimental to image quality. Canon turned all their Ixus cameras back to 12mp from 14mp for this very reason - and Ixus sensors are about twice the size of mobile phone sensors. If you think you will be disappointed by the iPhone camera, check these full res images out - http://www.macrumors.com/2011/10/04/full-resolution-photos-from-the-new-iphone-4s-camera/ @ naryanrobinson - Your wrong. As a manufacturer Apple sell more iPhones than any other single Android manufacturer sells Android phones, despite there being only 2 models being sold (until Oct 14th). If you want to talk about OS sales, then you also have to include all iOS devices including tablets and touches, in which case Apple, again, has the bigger market share.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Yeah that's also true, Android is the top seller right now, and running away with that title as well.

cipo89
cipo89

@Wizallah Android does actually, but they do sell the same phone more than anyone else rather than selling the OS more than anyone else.

got_ice_tea
got_ice_tea

People hate apple products because a clear point with the 4s a 8mp cam just so when the 5 comes out it can be 10mp but wait hold on ain't we at 14mp or more they wont put the top of the range and work on new ie discovering 20mp cam cause there lazy use whats out already money grabbing people im a lil upset that they are going with 8mp than a 14mp when its clear they can do it.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Apple product introductions actually make me feel a strange mix of anger and nausea. Most people when they talk about Apple products their eyes just glaze over and they look completely jaded. The products themselves aren't THAT bad, but in my brain Apple sits in the same little category as Scientology. It's like a disease that infects minds.

Wizallah
Wizallah

People hate Apple products but they still sell more phones than anyone else. Go figure.

little76player
little76player

Doesnt really make a difference lets see my phone keeps dyin from playin regular mini games and music yeah dont for see it takin over gaming since it doesnt have better battery life with a stroger graphic card that takes up more battery ima have to still use other devices

dillonpeterliam
dillonpeterliam

I like apple products, but this is FAIL! Games that take full advantage of the new chip will be fewer than the 3DS even after a year, They should have dropped the price across iPhone, iTouch . . thsi is probably there weakest release to date, I can hear Samsung creeping towards that top smartphone spot!

HCMBusiness_89
HCMBusiness_89

Nothing bad to say about apple. There doing all the right things and the price is right. I'm due for an upgrade, so I will be upgrading to the 4S. They are doing a fantastic job in the gaming department as well. It gets my gaming fix in and does the job quite well.