When the iPad 2 was announced back in March, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made sure to mention that the device’s dual-core A5 chip was a gaming powerhouse. And it really has been -- Apple wasn’t kidding when it said that graphics would perform nine times faster than the previous chip, the A4.
With the iPhone 5... well, in the future, Apple is taking a similar approach, according to a report from 9to5Mac. The iPhone 5 will feature the A5 dual-core chip as well, and Apple is pushing to make gaming a big part of the marketing of the new phone.
It might just be a rumor, but support for the A5 chip appearing in the new phone comes from the software development kit that came out with iOS 4. It really makes sense to put the chip in the iPhone 5 anyway, and is something of a foregone conclusion, so long as the hardware can handle the smaller size of the phone and isn’t too big a drain on battery power -- and given the iPad 2’s 10-hour battery life boast, that doesn’t seem to be an issue.
According to anonymous sources cited in the 9to5Mac story, a device being called the iPhone 4S, which is basically an iPhone 4 with the A5 chip installed, is being sent out to some game developers ahead of release in order to get them cracking on development for iPhone 5 when it’s released in... well... when it’s released. Apple isn’t necessarily sending out devices akin to what the iPhone 5 will actually be, just ones that include the A5 hardware so developers can mess with it.
The A5 is quite a piece of hardware, so seeing it come to the next generation of iPhone is going to be a pretty big deal. Apple claims the A5 gets nine times the GPU power (making it great for games) and is twice as good as the A4 overall.
Mobile gaming is a huge market, and games on smartphones are even pulling business away from traditional players in the industry. Apple is definitely right to take gaming seriously on its next smartphone, even more so than it already is -- last year, mobile gaming on Android and iOS was an $800 million market.
Apple’s iPhone is already a dominant force in the smartphone world when you compare it to other particular device models, and with specific gaming devices like the Xperia Play starting to hit on Google’s Android OS, Apple is making a smart move in attempting to insert itself in the field as well.