Apple's new handheld gaming system: the iPhone Video?

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The booths at E3 are still being torn down, and already we have the next big video game event to look forward to: Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference.

Huh? What does Apple have to do with gaming? Well if a post at gaming site Kotaku is to be believed, the much-rumored new iteration of the iPhone will have a 3D graphics chip inside, and will support external keyboards and game controllers. Additionally (says Kotaku) Apple has hired internal game developers.

For years pundits have suggested Apple might be working on a handheld gaming system, and maybe the iPhone is it? The App Store has been a big hit and it's packed with games, so this isn't the craziest rumor (Kotaku stresses that this is all just rumor) we've heard. It's unclear why Apple would hire game developers though, when they have so many independent people making games for the iPhone. Maybe to build gaming friendliness into the SDK?

In the meantime, The Unofficial Apple Weblog is bouncing around a name reportedly found on AT&T's support website: the iPhone Video. Could this refer to the same device? Probably. I wouldn't expect Apple to go so far as to identify their new iPhone as a gaming device in its name. Gaming will always be a secondary feature.

All will be revealed next week. Maybe. Oh, and one last data point from Kotaku — they say the new iPhone (as well as new firmware for the old one) launches July 17th.

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