A Glimpse into the Future of Gaming: Apple Edition

The Cupertino kids are winning the mobile market and working on a 3D screen

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Apple appears to have a trump card up its sleeve in its competition against Nintendo over gaming: a new, apparently mind-blowingly innovative 3D display that could move the mobile gaming fun of the iPhone and the iPad into your living room. Nintendo is no a stranger to the ebb and flow of the market, but lately, things have sort of dried up altogether for the gaming pioneer. Nick Wingfield at the Wall Street Journal reports:

The unexpectedly weak demand for Nintendo's 3DS hand-held player, which displays 3-D games without glasses and was launched with much fanfare earlier this year, are a setback for a company that had been betting on a new hit to turn around its waning fortunes. The company cut its profit forecast for the year ending in March by more than 80%.

Wingfield goes on to report that where Nintendo has lost market share in the gaming market, Apple has gained. Recently released data from a pair of analytics firms shows that Apple is the number one smartphone vender in the world for the first time. That dominance combined with the ridiculous popularity of Angry Birds and the comparatively low-price of games in the App Store, Apple can expect more success as the world's largest mobile gaming vendor.

Nintendo fans might be thinking, "What about the Wii?" If Apple wins the mobile gaming war, then Nintendo still has the console market, right? Plus, there's a Wii 2 coming out, and it has a touchscreen!

Here's where things get interesting. Last month, we wrote about a number of new Apple patents suggesting that Apple might be working on a glasses-free 3D teevee with a Wii-like remote control. We noted that Fast Company described the display as "so advanced it sounds like sci-fi" and Thursday, a fresh set of details appeared on Patently Apple that confirm the description. According to a new set of schematics, Apple has invented an entirely new kind of 3D display that is actually three screens in one. The "Multilayered 3D Display System" can actually split non-3D images up and place them one different layers that would produce a 3D-like effect. Apple's also filed patents that hint at 3D capabilities on its mobile devices, an innovation that could effectively give an iPhone the same capabilities as the Nintendo 3DS. Paired with the Wii-like remote control patent, Apple could pair the new 3D display with an iPhone or iPad controller, effectively giving it the same capabilities as the Wii 2.

With a new iPhone and yet another iPad due out this year, we could learn more details about Apple's gaming future soon. In the meantime, Nintendo will sell you a 3DS for a great price.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.