New OS X iPods rumoured… but is Apple planning a handheld games device?

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applelogo-games.jpgWell-connected blog AppleInsider has a story claiming that next month will see the launch of Apple’s next-gen iPods, running an embedded version of Mac OS X.

It’s not exactly a shocking suggestion, given that OS X is already a core element of the iPhone, which is rumoured to be influencing the look and feel of the next-gen iPods. AppleInsider’s story also claims there’ll be as many as four new iPods this Autumn, possibly all using NAND flash memory (this includes Nanos, by the way).

But what really intrigued me was this sentence in the story, about sources saying “the company will again tap an embedded version of the Mac OS to form the foundation of yet another business segment and digital device family in 2008”. My money’s on a handheld gaming device: here’s why…

Assuming it’s handheld (and yes, that is an assumption), it wouldn’t be a PDA, because PDAs are dying on their arses. I can’t imagine it being a GPS satnav device, which are likewise threatened by the rise of GPS-enabled smartphones. A humanoid robot? That would be amazing, but I don’t think WowWee needs to get worried just yet.

So, games it is. With the success of Nintendo’s DS (and the comparative sluggishness of Sony’s PSP), Apple would have plenty of data to work from in designing a new gaming handheld. And in the last year, the company has ramped up its games activities, working directly with publishers like Electronic Arts for iPod games (and Mac too).

Meanwhile, several reports in the last year have suggested Apple has been quietly hiring internal games teams, which everyone assumed were for the iPhone – whose gaming offering is, as yet, unrevealed. But what if there was a bigger plan afoot, for a dedicated handheld Apple iGamer with, say, motion-sensing tech inside?

Just a thought ;o)

(via AppleInsider)

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Stuart Dredge