Apple (APPL) patented new technology that could put 3D cameras in iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Although it's been quiet on the 3D front so far, serious competition from Google (GOOG) and Nintendo (NTYDO) has put Apple in a rare position: On the defensive.
Nintendo 3DS sales go through the roof
Nintendo may underestimate Apple's gaming prowess, but it clearly understands that 3D is a strong selling point for its audience. In Japan, the Nintendo 3DS has sold 800,000 units in its first month -- despite the devastating earthquake -- and, in America, Nintendo says it had the biggest launch day of any Nintendo handheld last week.
The 3DS takes advantage of its 3D technology in several ways:
- A 3D camera
- 3D content, including movie trailers
- 3D gaming
Google tablets come 3D equipped
Most Android tablets are now launching with built-in 3D, including devices from Asus, Motorola (M), and Sony (SNE). Like the Nintendo 3DS vs. the iPod/iPhone, the tablets have the advantage of having a 3D camera, movies, and games over the iPad 2.
It's obviously too late to add a 3D camera or screen to the new iPad 2, especially since Apple only updates its devices annually. However, the iPhone 5 and the next generation iPod, expected this summer and fall, respectively, could benefit from Apple's new patent and protect the major weak spot in Apple's mobile dominance.