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iPhone 5: What does it mean for gamers?

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There weren't a lot of surprises at Apple's press event Tuesday. The rumor mill was pretty much spot-on when it came to the iPhone 5, taking a little of the wind out of the company's sails.

But that doesn't make the iPhone 5 -- and the slew of new iPod Touch devices that the company also debuted -- any less important to gaming. In fact, Apple might be further cementing its presence as a major player in the video game industry.

Here's a punch list of the announcements that gamers should pay the most attention to:

Faster processor/better graphics

Apple's decision to include the A6 processor in the iPhone 5 makes it twice as fast as its predecessor. That gives game makers more power to create better artificial intelligence and higher quality graphics.

Nick Earl, SVP of EA's Global Mobile and Social Studios, noted that with the new chip and the inclusion of the retina display, the iPhone 5 now has a graphics capability that's on par with the top-end console games. That's a pretty big endorsement.

"The number one thing from our perspective is the 4-inch retina display," he says. "Our roots, as a company, are graphically oriented. We create rich, graphical experiences."

Widescreen

The jump from a 3.5-inch screen to a 4-inch one lets widescreen gaming finally be a part of the iOS culture. That strips away one of the PS Vita's biggest bragging rights. As mobile games become more focused on core gamers in the months and years to come, that 16x9 screen ratio will be fully utilized to showcase more cinematic titles.

Better battery life

Having to stop a game because your battery is about to die (or worse, seeing the device just shut down mid-level) is maddening. The 3DS and Vita both have notable shortcomings when it comes to that litmus test. Apple somehow has managed to extend the battery life on the most recent iPhone, reportedly letting people play for up to eight hours at a clip.

The further gamification of the iPod Touch

Apple has always played up the iPod Touch as its go-to gaming device. And it didn't hesitate to do so again today:

"It's the world's most popular music player... but a lot of people don't realize that it's also the world's most popular video game player as well," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's VP of iPod, iPhone and iOS product marketing.

Every iPod Touch now has a screen and the flagship line got many of the updates the iPhone 5 did, making it a draw for people who aren't quite ready to upgrade their phone yet.

And while the iPod Nano doesn't currently support apps, it seems a pretty sure bet that it will down the road, given the design decisions Apple made this time around.

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