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The Mobile Gaming Mavens on what's going to be the most exciting Apple news of the week

Plus a bonus gold versus APPL shares question
The Mobile Gaming Mavens on what's going to be the most exciting Apple news of the week

It's going to be the big news of the week, so we asked the Mavens:

With Apple expected to announce its new iPhone hardware and iOS 5 imminently, what's most exciting you about the platform?

We also threw in a cheeky bonus, gauging whether - in these financially turbulent times - they'd prefer to invest in gold or Apple shares.

Unity Technologies' David Helgason was most excited by Apple's speed of delivery.

"That's impressive and very fucking scary to anyone who has a slight hope for a more balanced ecosystem," he said, suggesting that such companies were learning how not to get bogged down, either by growth or bureaucracy, while making the most of global networking effects.

Michael Schade of Fishlabs was most excited by iCloud.

"You will be able to play Galaxy on Fire 2 HD on your iPhone 5, iPad 2 and Mac, transferring your save back and forth at anytime," he said, taking the German developer's key game as an example.

"It is one more step into true cross-platform gaming which we believe will be the next big thing."

Think broader and longer

This enthusiasm wasn't shared by everyone however. Both Tag Games' Paul Farley and Tiswaz's Kevin Dent were less impressed about iCloud.

"If you already have a server-side solution [as Tag does], the cross-platform usability Michael refers to is already reality - across any open platform, not just Apple," Farley explained.

"For me, the best element of iCloud is that it frees iPhone users from their PC or Mac and iTunes."

Dent didn't even believe iCloud would add much value, given the state of other Apple's software such as MobileMe and iTunes.

"From my perspective, I cannot fathom how a company that can shoot out amazing operating systems cannot produce good apps," he said.

Farley was positive about iOS 5 though. "Better social graph integration, especially Twitter, will be useful," he said.

He also though that the "more elegant" notifications will enable game publishers to manage their game communities less intrusively.

Despite all that, he had one plea.

"In terms of hardware, you can go thinner, lighter, brighter, faster, and stronger - but please for the love of that is useful, Apple, I'm begging for only one thing. Vastly improved battery life."

Hold me, special

Dent had opinions about Apple's new hardware. "I will buy it, play with it and wait for Apple to tell me how to hold it," he joked.

He predicted Apple would bring out a device resembling the iPad2 with "a couple of bells and whistles unsupported on the iPhone 4 and lower devices ... it will sell like gangbusters."

Despite this, he thought the new Windows Phone Mango OS was way better than Android and could compete with iOS.

"The only chink is the lack of native support for Unity and UDK ... we are accustomed to using thirdparty tools, so let us."

Continuing to plough his own off-piste furrow, he also laid into the newly announced Kindle Fire, expressing amazement at Amazon's ability to find yet another way to fragment the Android market.

Tablet, mirror, TV

Returning to iOS, Farley thought that Game Center improvements were "long overdue and, of course, Airplay mirroring is cool, blurring the line between mobile device and home console."

Rowen Corben, of Spanish developer Bravo, argued that for many people, it would turn the iPad into their home console.

"We're a few months away from launching Pictionary and it's a feature we're looking to take advantage of, using the original board game with the iPad as the drawing tool and the TV as the display," he said.

James Scalpello, previously of Bravo and now consulting for it and others, agreed.

"I'm really excited about the Airplay mirroring. The ability to stream the games to your TV will bring a whole new level of interaction - it's casual gaming re-invented and perhaps another notch against the Nintendo business; especially when/if the App Store comes to the Apple TV. That's a £99 console with 99c/free games," he added,

Will Luton, of UK developer Mobile Pie pointed out the wider advantages for that genre.

"I think we'll see a boom in With Friends asynchronous play games as support for turn-based games without server overheads hits iOS 5," he said.

"These make for high retention games, which fit a freemium model nicely. iOS will only make them more attractive financially, and give rise to cool, new, creative experiences. Think Advance Wars-style games or all the card and board games that would benefit."

High growth

As for the question of gold or Apple shares, David Helgason was happiest investing his money in Apple, but only if he was in the public markets at all. "Not being there keeps me clear of a whole class of headaches," he remarked wisely.

Rowen Corben was more bullish; "I own Apple shares and only intend to keep adding."

James Scalpello was a longterm goldbug however. "Gold is a limited resource while Apple still has that 'Jobs factor' to deal with in the coming years," he said.

Michael Schade didn't want to buy either; like Dent he was optimistic about Windows Phone.

"I would rather buy Nokia stocks; they went south for almost two years and I'm convinced that with WP7 or WP8 they will gain a significant market share back, and eventually succeed in the US too," he predicted.

Now that would be exciting.