We churn through the marketing guff and present what the new devices mean for gamers…
For those of you who frequent tech rumour sites, then to you the iPhone 5 is the worst kept secret in the history of tech. For everyone else though, and perhaps some readers of this site, the news of a new iPhone and iPod Touch is as fresh as a daisy.
Thanks to leaks of part numbers, camera lenses, batteries and even full unibody casings, the launch of the new iPhone doesn’t quite have the same excitement as before. It’s still a great new piece of kit, don’t get me wrong, but it just does’ have the wow factor. It’s possible we are now in a time where new tech just can’t live up to our own hype or expectations. Perhaps it’s the lack of dear old Steve. But, whatever the reason, the reveal of the new iPhone just didn’t have the same grandiose feel to it.
As this is a gaming site, we’re going to throw out all the boring info about mega-pixels, iOS 6 features and new iTunes, and instead get down to the nitty gritty of just what the new iPhone and new iPod Touch have up their sleeves in terms of gaming grunt.
As well as a new, slightly odd looking unibody design, the new iPhone 5 is taller, thinner and lighter than the iPhones before it. Thinner and lighter is of course good for our mitts, as we spend hours upon hours clutching it while gaming. But, it’s the taller aspect that is the biggest draw for gaming.
The increased height (but same width) gives the iPhone 5 a larger 4 inch screen – as opposed to previous 3.5 inch screens on all previous iPhones. That means more space for sumptuous gaming visuals, and of course proper widescreen support.
The new iPhone 5 now comes with a new engine under the hood, that is the new – and long rumoured – A6 processor. It’s twice the power of the A5 (how it compares to the A5x – as seen in the iPad 3 – is unclear. 1.5 times perhaps). It also features 2x graphics to boot, so expect PS VITA rivalling visuals featured in AppStore games in future.
EA/Firemonkeys demoed Real Racing 3 optimised for A6 on the new device (So that’s why I couldn’t get hands-on with it during my recent visit to this studios in Australia). Graphical flourishes – on top of the improved draw distances, more cars, more detailed textures and geometry – included realtime reflections, and rear-view mirrors.
Details emerged of a new multiplayer feature that allows you to play friends asynchronously, with whats been dubbed ‘Time-shifted’ racing. You can even interact with their cars, running them off the road and slowing down their set time.
Despite being thinner, the new iPhone 5 includes improved battery performance. No doubt due the increased height. So expect an extra hour or so of gaming.
Last but not least is the new ‘Lightning’ dock connector/power cord. Completely redesigned, it is far smaller than the connector that has powered our iDevices for the past 9 years. The good news is that it won’t get in the way so much if you want to play while charging. Plus, It’s double sided too, so no more fiddling about trying to get it to fit in the dark!
5th Gen iPod Touch
Apparently the iPod Touch is the world’s most popular video game player, with 175,000 games available (not all good I might add), and 150 million players in Game Center. So it’s about time the iPod Touch was updated.
Along with the iPhone 5, it features the new, taller, 4 inch screen. It’s only 6.1 mm thick, and it’s been given processor bump too, bringing it in line with the iPhone 4S. While it may be disappointing to some, particularly those of you where an iPhone is out of your price bracket (either on or off contract), Apple need a flagship device in the iPhone 5, so the iPod Touch being slower was expected. It’s still 7 times faster than the previous iPod Touch, so upgrading is certainly worth the effort.
The iPod Touch now has a new aluminium casing (non-mirrored), available in a selection of colours, plus it has ‘Loop’ wrist bracelets that fix on to the bottom corner, making it less likely to slip from your hand.
The 32GB version will retail for $299, and the 64GB at $399. The previous generation is available at a lower price point.
This time I think they have got it right, merging that of the previous two generations. It features a larger touchscreen this time around, and even adds a home button. However, it’s styled differently to the iPod Touch and iPhone’s home button, in a bid no doubt to separate the products. So, instead of a rounded square icon, the iPod Nano’s is a circle. To complement this, the home screen icons are also circular – looking similar to a VITA’s icons.
So, no massive announcements at this years media event. But certainly some welcome ones. The iPhone 5 ships in the 21st of September (28th in some countries) with pre-orders starting on Friday 14th (also for iPod Touch and Nano). iOS 6 is available for all recent iDevices next week.
Look out for our full iPhone 5 review on its release.