" - releases on 16 March for from £399. It features a stunning "Retina Display" screen four times the resolution of an iPad 2 - that's a higher resolution than a 1080p Full HD bigscreen, flat TV (and any home console). And it's got dual-core processing power and quad-core graphics power to match the increased screen. That has prompted Epic Games to announce Infinity Blade: Dungeons, a Diablo-style hack-n-slash role-playing game with a version specifically taking advantage of the new iPad power.
Mike Capps, president of Epic said at the Apple launch: "This new device has more memory and higher screen resolution than an Xbox 360 or PS3." Capps later told CVG
: "We really are pushing [home console manufacturers], because if they don't, Apple will go right past them." In other words, Apple's new iPad is a serious challenger to home consoles (although not handheld consoles in my opinion
). Is it really a game changer?
Simply put, yes it is. With OnLive able to stream the latest games to Android tablets, and the new iPad able to outstrip home consoles in terms of raw processing power, tablets are a formidable opponent of classic home gaming. Tablets are also likely to make it into homes where consoles aren't. They're multi-talented, multimedia devices, based on operating systems that are designed for the job (the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 have both really bolted on social media, video streaming and other multimedia apps as an afterthought, in comparison). Tablets, like it or not, are a direct competitor to home consoles for spending money and living room time usage. And all the indications are that, while theoretically portable, most tablet usage is in the home already.
So, what are the downsides of tablet gaming? Firstly, like smartphones, they're forcing developers to develop for multiple platforms. Epic Games' Infinity Blade: Dungeons will clearly look its best on a new iPad. But it'd better run pretty darn well on an old iPad, otherwise the vast majority of potential purchasers won't be happy. Same deal applies to Android and Windows tablets too, of course.
There's also the thorny issue of controls. OnLive's controller works with Android tablets - which is a great idea. Until Apple either lets OnLive get to work on iPads for games, or Apple creates a standardised controller format for developers, then iPad games are touchscreen-only. And that simply can't match home consoles (or the Vita
Those are solveable issues though. So, watch out Microsoft and Sony - Apple's new iPad is on your six.