Apple Tablet Detected Running Games At Apple HQ, Research Group Says

Illustration for article titled Apple Tablet Detected Running Games At Apple HQ, Research Group Says

The Apple Tablet is still just a unicorn, a publicly unseen beast of questionable evolutionary logic, but research group Flurry Analytics claimed yesterday to spot its presence at Apple headquarters and detected a heavy amount of gaming on the thing.

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In a blog post on Sunday, Flurry's vice president of marketing, Peter Farago, announced that his firm, which offers developers the ability to track activity of mobile applications, sniffed out heavy usage of programs running on "approximately 50 devices that match the characteristics of Apple's rumored tablet device." Flurry claims to be able to "reliably 'place' these devices geographically on Apple's Cupertino campus."

The Apple Tablet is an unannounced keyboard-less computer that many observers expect to be announced at a major Apple showcase event this Wednesday. Apple representatives have invited Kotaku to the event, a sign that the new product will have a major gaming angle.

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Flurry claims to have detected "approximately 200 different applications in use by testers," about 150 of which if classifies as games (Flurry's accompanying chart appears to show well more than 200 apps being used). Later in the post, Farago noted that, among the detected applications, "there was a "strong theme of sharing and/or social interaction including social games..."

Illustration for article titled Apple Tablet Detected Running Games At Apple HQ, Research Group Says

The apps were seen running on the unreleased iPhone 3.2 operating system. That would seem to leave open the possibility that all Flurry detected was iPhone activity, not Tablet activity. After a commenter brought that up on Flurry's site, Farago wrote:

If this were an iPhone we were looking at, the hardware would tell us when we ask it (via the software). So we can rule out that this is an iPhone. Also, we already see verified iPhone devices testing OS 4.0 and these leave (Apple's Cupertino, CA) campus, whereas this device does not. This makes sense given the secrecy around the new tablet device as the launch event nears.

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If Flurry's report is accurate it suggests that the Apple Tablet could be the first Apple product to launch with a heavy focus on gaming. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that game publisher Electronic Arts is working on games for the device.

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Kotaku has already run through some scenarios for gaming on an Apple Tablet. We'll have full on-the-scene coverage of Apple's event on Wednesday as we focus on what Apple's plans may hold for the future of gaming.

Apple Tablet: The Second Stage Media Booster Rocket [Flurry Analytics Blog]

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[Mock-up image created by Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo, remixed by Michael McWhertor]

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DISCUSSION

Can I be the first to ask "how the F are you gonna play games on a tablet?"

Seriously, think about how that would actually work in practice. I'm not talking about "omg games on a tablet!!1!!" reactions, I'm saying think about how you would actually do it.

Hold the thing in both hands and play with your thumbs? (Which would severely limit the types of games available)

Or even goofier, with motion sensors? (On a big giant tablet)

Put it on a desk and play with your fingertips? (Which would defeat the entire purpose of a mobile device that you can take on a train, in a car, etc.)

Put it on a desk and play with a controller? (Again, defeating the purpose of a mobile device)

I just don't see it. I'm sure Apple will try to say this is a gaming device, but it's going to make an even worse gaming device than the iPhone/iPod Touch. Basically ok for ultra-casual players, but way too unwieldy for most people, including those who want to play "real" games. You may as well just stick with a laptop.

(Then again, that's pretty much how I feel about tablets in general.)