What the iPhone 5S means for mobile gaming

It’s that time of the year again. A new iPhone has been shown off, and we all know what that means for games: better graphics. How much better, exactly?

It’s that time of the year again. A new iPhone has been shown off, and we all know what that means for games: better graphics. How much better, exactly? Well, I’m not going to get into too much detail regarding the specifications of the iPhone 5S. Instead, I’ll look at some eyebrow-raising new features of the smartphone and how that affects gaming.

To anyone who’s been playing games more than casually, it comes as no surprise that a new iPhone will have substantially better graphics than the previous gen, which in this case is the one-year-old iPhone 5. Chair Entertainment took to the stage to show us just that with Infinity Blade 3. However, that isn’t to say that the game will be exclusive to the iPhone 5S. It’ll be making its way to the iPhone 5, as well as some of the older models.

One of the most interesting things that Apple revealed during its event last night was the fact that the iPhone 5S touts the A7 chip, which has 64-bit architecture. Along with all the bells and whistles of improved performance and stuff, this essentially comes down to one thing: Apple is making the iPhone future-proof by giving it the option to use large amounts of RAM sometime later.

What the iPhone 5S means for mobile gaming

The iPhone 5S promises to be the best gaming smartphone available, but not because of the hardware


It doesn’t want to change iOS at a fundamental level again for a long time, so iOS 7 will be 64-bit as well. For games, this essentially means that somewhere down the line, iPhone games will blow your mind. Right now, however, this means very little.

The iPhone 5S also has some major improvements to its battery life. One of the ways Apple managed this is with the new M7 motion coprocessor which is strapped alongside the A7 chip. The chip essentially picks up all the motion-related data the smartphone gets from its accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. This reduces the load on the A7 chip, resulting in better battery life.

Having a dedicated chip for all of this stuff also means that any app using the gyroscope or accelerometer will end up performing better. As we all know, a lot of the games on smartphones depend on the gyroscope and the accelerometer for its controls. Racing games where you have to tilt your iPhone to steer, for example, will control better.

A better battery life also means one major thing: prolonged gaming sessions will be less painful. You won’t end up in scenarios where playing a game high-end game for a couple of hours bumped down your iPhone’s battery by half.

All in all, the new iPhone does bring some new things to the table, and all of them are good. This doesn’t impact mobile gaming itself in any large way, though. It’s nowhere near as important as the iPhone 3G was, which brought along iPhone OS 2.0 and the App Store. The iPhone 5S does have the grunt to pull off better visuals, though, but in the end, it's not going to be the best gaming smartphone in the market because of that. It'll be the best because of continued support from game developers.

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