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Digital Foundry: iPad 2 could "herald the arrival of a new home games console"

In a new and extensive technical feature about playing games on iPad 2, Eurogamer's Digital Foundry tries to make the case that Apple is planning to launch its own version of a game console.

The feature is mostly about benchmarking iPad 2, which runs games like Epic's Unreal Engine 3-powered Infinity Blade several times faster in than the first version of Apple's tablet.

However, the article also speculates on Apple's future for game development, pointing out that it's recently hired PR managers in the UK from both Nintendo and Activision.

The site reckons iPad 2's A5 processor is a clue.

"Why would Apple need to introduce architecture with a 4x to 7x performance boost over an existing technology that is already dominating the market?"

It adds: "Either we are looking at a company looking to consolidate its iron grip on the mobile games market by combining its existing unparalleled developer support with state-of-the-art technology, or else iPad 2 represents the first stages of a plan to expand iOS's reach from mobile phones and MP3 players through to tablets and perhaps in the near future, home games consoles."

One possible way into the home game console trade is via the AppleTV device Apple itself has described in the past as more of a "hobby" business.

"There have been plenty of creditable attempts at claiming the multi-purpose set-top box market, but there has been no outright winner. Arguably, Apple has the brand presence, the games, and the music and video services to actually make it happen."

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