Will the iPhone be the new Nintendo DS?

Over at MoGeneration they have made some predictions for the iPhone in 2009. Nothing too radical, but clearly what happens with the iPhone is crucial for developers.

Top of the list is a subscription payment model. I’m not so sure – perhaps that is wishful thinking, but developers and users would love it. With iTunes’ excellent payments system the idea of paying, or charging, $1 a month really appeals. It works for developers as it takes a positive action to stop payments, and works for users as you pay less up front.

Mogen also predict an iPhone product that is not tied to carriers. Perhaps wishful thinking, but it would really be wonderful to see Apple sell an iPhone platform that is not tied to telcos. A new product line (iPod Nano, or iPod “Mano”) could avoid conflicting with existing contracts, and cater for the many people that cross borders or have multiple carriers. Given that, how about one with multiple SIM card capability? That would become my one-true-phone. 

Capturing the older-age Nintendo DS market

The overall trend appears to be towards consumer and industry recognition of the iPhone and iPod Touch as genuine gaming platform, driving sales to compete with Nintendo DS. This will spark even more development from major software houses, while making it harder to be seen on the crowded, and slow, app store.

I see the iPhone/Pod Touch platform as taking the market above and after the DS – slightly older, wealthier and more cerebral. It allows for the transition from gaming to social networking, with the iWhatever devices offering both on a pocket sized device you can take to school, and even be allowed to use at school.

The sales statistics

The Nintendo DS had 84m units out there by September 2008, while the iPhone had sold just 13m units to end September 2008.

However there were 6.89m iPhones sold in the July-Sept quarter versus 6.79m Nintendo DS’s in the same period.

To be fair the iPhone number captures an enormous launch surge, so the December quarter stats for both will make fascinating reading.

However again, add the iPod Touch sales to the iPhones, and they are apparently pretty high, with the Touch perhaps the most popular iPod model.

So the combined iPod Touch and iPhone sales should easily exceed the DS’s for the December quarter. I still see that the DS has a place – the iWhatever sits after the DS, while Nintendo still has the positively Apple-esque Wii.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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