Apple’s (AAPL) faster iPhone 3G S could give app developers a new puzzle, especially gaming companies.
During Apple’s WWDC keynote, the company talked up three of the iPhone 3G S’s features, which could be useful for video game (and other chip-intense) developers. Those are: Its processor/memory, which combine to provide about twice the speed as the iPhone 3G, its digital compass, and its new graphics capabilities via OpenGL ES 2.0.
Those could combine for awesome new apps, which could include compass-based motion sensing and more intense graphics. But because those features will only exist on the newest phone — and for the smallest audience — it creates a new question for developers.
That is: Create for the old iPhone 3G and iPod touch, which have the biggest audience? Or create for the new iPhone 3G S, which could lead to better software for fewer people? Or make different apps for both, adding more complexity to the development process and the iPhone app store?
So far, one of the attractions of the iPhone app store is that there was only one set of specs to write apps for. (Except the relatively small number of apps that required the phone feature and/or a mic, and therefore didn’t work on the iPod touch.) Apple itself has mocked the fact that other platforms require developers to write different apps for different phone models. But now that’s about to become a reality for the iPhone, too.
On the plus side, it means even better apps and games, which competing platforms just don’t offer. (And, obviously, no one’s going to stop creating iPhone apps just because there’s a new hurdle.) But in the meantime, it’s a tradeoff that developers aren’t used to making.
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