Nintendo was doing touchscreen gaming long before Apple ever decided to get in the game. But as the iPod touch, the iPhone, and now the iPad have challenged the gaming giant, Nintendo is expected to respond aggressively with a new console in 2010. Reports are already starting to roll in that some developers in Japan have received early versions of the new Nintendo hardware.
CVG quotes an insider source at a development studio as saying "It's genuinely the best thing I think I've ever worked with. . . I can tell you that it's got a 'tilt' function that's not dissimilar to iPhone, but does a lot more." Adding an accelerometer to a refreshed Nintendo DS will certainly help counter the Apple challenge. Indeed this tilt feature might not be the only trick that Nintendo has learned from Jobs and company, as this sort of pre-launch rumor swirling tastes distinctly Apple-flavored.
It should also be noted that a patent (view pdf) filed by Nintendo back in January points to a rumble-pack feature that sends vibrations of varying intensity through the screen corresponding to on-screen action. While earlier efforts at popularizing the rumble feature in the DS met with little success, one would hope that if if Nintendo follows through on this that the experience is better this time.
In any case, most analysts agree that the DS refresh won't be released at the Game Developers Conference next month, but rather that we'll have to wait until later this year to see what Nintendo has in store.