At its seasonal hardware unveiling today Apple showed off expected new models for its agenda-setting music hardware the iPod – but it was games, not audio, which CEO Steve Jobs pushed to the forefront.
Jobs revealed that 100m applications have been downloaded from the AppStore, the area of iTunes which distributes software. There are 3,000 apps on the story – 600 of which are games titles, many of them free.
But "some of [the games] are getting pretty fantastic. There is something here for everyone".
To prove it, he called Apple’s senior VP of product marketing to demonstrate three new iPod Touch/iPhone games, the Gameloft’s Real Soccer 2009 and the recently released Spore Origins and upcoming Need for Speed Undercover by EA.
The former ad the latter showed off almost cutting edge use of the touchscreen interface of the iPhone. Gameloft has programmed an on-screen d-pad into its game and has included gesture controls, while EA has transposed traditional racing game controls to the interface for its car racer.
Jobs summed up, claiming that Apple’s iPod Touch is no longer great for just music and video, but now games too.
"Now you can make a pretty good argument that it is the best portable device for playing games on – and a whole new class of games," he said.
Jobs said that in a wider sense Apple had the best hardware line-up it has ever offered, which included also announced smaller iPod Nanos and higher capacity iPod Classics.
He also revealed details on the might of Apple’s place in the market as a digital distributor. iTunes was described as the "largest online content store in the world", offering also 8.5m songs and 30,000 TV episodes for download. And there are 65m user accounts with registered credit cards on the service. All of this has "enabled us to slowly climb up to become the number one music distibutor in any format in the US," ahead of traditional retailers like WalMart and Best Buy, said Jobs.