The word leaking out of third party Companies linked with Apple is that the Company who gave us the iPhone and the iPod is seriously considering the release of a gaming device, as well as the roll out of a gaming network in 2011.
In recent months senior Apple developers have met with various game developers according to our sources. They have also started hiring executives with gaming, graphic and processing experience.
Among those hired by Apple are Bob Drebin who was the chief technology officer of the Graphics Products Group with AMD, former ATI executive Raja Koduri and former IBM executive Mark Papermaster who was one of the architects being the Power PC processor as well as the Cell Processor now found in the Sony PS3 and the Xbox 360.
In the late 90’s Papermaster was one of the main architects of the PowerPC chip. He likely had lots of interaction with Apple at this point as they were the PowerPC platform’s biggest customer. The PowerPC 630 (or Power3) was ultimately used in IBM mainframe computers. Since then, he has authored many papers on chip design and is generally regarded as one of the leaders in the chip design field.
We have been told that Apple is keen to launch a device that interfaces with an Apple gaming network, however a key objective with the Apple design teams, is gaming across multiple devices including notebooks, iPhones and a gaming specific iPod.
There is also talk of a gaming monitor with full network access and an OLED screen, manufactured by LG Display. The monitor could act as the gaming device with the processor built into the screen.
One of my sources claim that the unlock key is a fast processor, a new generation display screen, a gaming payment gateway similar to what Apple has with their applications and gaming software that lets third part games to be developed and ported easily for the Apple platform.
Currently, several gaming Companies are having second thoughts about developing for the Sony PS3 because of slow sales of the gaming console and the high cost of porting a game to the PS3 platform Vs the Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii platform.
Apple has also recognise that a motion, touch gaming controller is critical.
Apple has the software people and of late, several have been talking to gaming companies.
Analysts that I have spoken to, say that gaming is a logical fit for Apple. “There business is primarily consumer Vs enterprise. They have a phone, iPod and PC’s and to add a gaming monitor and a customised gaming iPod makes senses particularly if they can fix process speed and heat issues similar to what is emerging with the new iPhone”.
If Apple launch a gaming platform in 2011, the move could be a major blow to Sony more than Microsoft with their Xbox and Nintendo with their Wii.
One Apple insider said that 2 years ago Apple looked at a home media box with a view to delivering content and gaming into the home but the project was dropped because of problems with processors and speed. Instead they decided to stay with Apple TV.