First look: Nintendo's iPad-like Switch hybrid game console launches, with iOS support on ...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2017
Taking a cue from the touchscreen tablet market kickstarted by Apple's iPad, Nintendo on Friday launched a hybrid home and portable game console. It's set to feature integration with an official Nintendo app for iOS, though it is not yet available at launch.


Left: iPhone 6s with Moga Rebel. Center: Nintendo Switch. Right: iPad Air 2 with SteelSeries Nimbus.


Tech fans and gamers have historically noted similarities between Apple and Nintendo, despite the fact that the companies compete in very different markets. Both are known for an emphasis on quality in their devices, as well as a marriage of hardware and software.

In addition, the two companies are well known for taking risks --?something the Switch most certainly does, with a concept and form factor unique among the "big three" home game console makers, which include Sony and Microsoft.

Despite the rise of the iPhone for mobile gaming, Nintendo has continued to find some success with its dedicated portable game machine, the Nintendo 3DS and its predecessor the DS. The same, however, cannot be said for its home game consoles, where the Wii U struggled after the blockbuster success of the Wii.




Nintendo is hoping its success in portables can carry over with the new hybrid switch, the brains of which is a touchscreen tablet measuring 6.2 inches diagonally. That's smaller than Apple's iPad mini, which has a 7.9-inch display, though the iPad mini has a "taller" 4:3 ratio compared to the Switch's widescreen 16:9 form factor.

Given that the Switch is likely to be used by children and adults alike, Nintendo unsurprisingly opted for a plastic finish on its tablet-style device. It also includes a kickstand on the back, which can be used for portable gaming sessions.




It won't serve as a true iPad competitor, however: The Switch lacks apps like Netflix at launch, and does not even feature a web browser. It's possible such functions could be added down the road via software updates.

If you're a hardcore, traditional iOS gamer, then you likely have a dedicated controller. The Switch with its removable JoyCon controllers is not quite as portable, but makes for a better on-the-go option than an iPad with a Bluetooth controller -- especially if you're playing on a train or airplane where it might be difficult to prop up the iPad.




When at home, the Switch console can be docked, where the screen is obscured and the game can now be played on your HDTV. The JoyCon controllers are removed and inserted onto a plastic accessory that makes them more akin to a regular at-home controller.

Off-again, on-again Apple partner Nvidia is responsible for the central and graphics processors in the Switch, which are based on its Tegra system-on-a-chip design. Nvidia has also pushed the Tegra platform for tablets and other portable devices that compete with Apple's own custom A-series processors found in the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.




In some ways Nintendo's home-and-portable machine is accomplishing through hardware what Apple currently offers via software: Gamers can access universal titles for iOS and Apple TV, complete with dedicated controller support and synced iCloud game saves. Of course, not being dedicated "hardcore" gaming machines, the iPhone and Apple TV have not attracted the caliber of games that Nintendo makes for its consoles, such as the Switch launch title "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild."

Things are changing, however. Last year, Nintendo launched its first iPhone game, Super Mario Run, and raked in downloads and in-app purchases. It's unlikely, however, that titles like "Legend of Zelda" or even a traditional Mario game will come to iOS as long as Nintendo is selling gaming hardware.




Nintendo has also announced that the Switch will offer remote parental controls via a dedicated iOS application. Users will be able to set time limits for their children, and also set certain windows of time when the console cannot be used.

By default, the limits will only trigger reminders, but stricter parents will be able to force the system to suspend itself outside of the allotted time windows. They can even be customized based on the day, allowing children to play for longer periods on the weekends.




Parents will also be able to see which games their children are playing, complete with monthly reports, and whether they went over their limit.

The app will allow games over a certain age rating to be blocked as well. Parents can also prevent children from using features like chat or social media integration, adjustable on a per-game basis.




The iOS app was not quite ready for the launch of the Switch on Friday, as the system ships without those capabilities. A Nintendo representative indicated to AppleInsider that the feature will be added in a forthcoming software update, but no timetable was given.

Still, interoperability between the iPhone and a Nintendo game console is a major step for the Japanese company, which has historically resisted both competing platforms and the rise of smartphones.

AppleInsider will have full coverage of iOS integration with the Nintendo Switch once it's available.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32


    It won't serve as a true iPad competitor, however: The Switch lacks apps like Netflix at launch, and does not even feature a web browser. It's possible such functions could be added down the road via software updates.
    So by implication, this is all that is needed to be an iPad competitor?

    That's what people think they're getting when they buy a $50 Kindle, and then it ends up in a drawer collecting dust after a week.
    edited March 2017 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,604administrator


    It won't serve as a true iPad competitor, however: The Switch lacks apps like Netflix at launch, and does not even feature a web browser. It's possible such functions could be added down the road via software updates.
    So by implication, this is all that is needed to be an iPad competitor?

    That's what people think they're getting when they buy a $50 Kindle, and then it ends up in a drawer collecting dust after a week.
    That's a strange implication to make. 

    Just because Netflix or a browser are needed in an iPad competitor, does not even remotely mean that it is the sum total of everything needed to be so.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 598member
    what is that yellow thing in the last photo? scary...a finger?
    shikotsumyakuirelandelijahgpulseimages
  • Reply 4 of 32
    jvmbjvmb Posts: 59member
    I don't understand why all switch reviewers seem to have an issue with the lack of Netflix and other apps. I have way too many devices that support netflix already. On my main TV I have 4 devices with Netflix (Smart TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, PS4). I really don't need more devices with Netflix, or browsers, or Spotify, or chat. It is like saying you need more devices with a clock built in. I already have a whole scavenger hunt in my house twice a year when the time changes. What I want is fun family games that the PS4 lacks with a simplest possible menu so that I can go from booting up to playing my games as fast as possible.
    supadav03georgie01propod
  • Reply 5 of 32
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    jvmb said:
    I don't understand why all switch reviewers seem to have an issue with the lack of Netflix and other apps. I have way too many devices that support netflix already. On my main TV I have 4 devices with Netflix (Smart TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, PS4). I really don't need more devices with Netflix, or browsers, or Spotify, or chat. It is like saying you need more devices with a clock built in. I already have a whole scavenger hunt in my house twice a year when the time changes. What I want is fun family games that the PS4 lacks with a simplest possible menu so that I can go from booting up to playing my games as fast as possible.
    I don't have an issue with the lack of Netflix (I just use my Apple TV for that by default). However, these things are important for some prospective buyers to know, because there are average consumers out there actually trying to weigh whether they should buy an iPad mini ($379) or a Nintendo Switch ($360 with a game). The point is, the Switch isn't really a "true" tablet. We're an Apple site, we always like to keep the focus on Apple, even when discussing competitors.

    That said — you're right, this thing doesn't need to have Netflix (or a web browser) for my own use case.

    I am hopeful that the forthcoming iOS integration goes beyond just parental controls — it would be nice to be able to manage your account, authorize purchases and initiate downloads remotely, for example. Simple stuff, but it would add value.
    redgeminipawatto_cobrajohn.b
  • Reply 6 of 32
    If you're buying a Nintendo console to use Netflix, you're obviously not tech savvy enough to use Netflix or a Nintendo console and therefore won't realize this is anything at all. 
  • Reply 7 of 32
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    If you're buying a Nintendo console to use Netflix, you're obviously not tech savvy enough to use Netflix or a Nintendo console and therefore won't realize this is anything at all. 
    Tell that to parents of kids who use their Wii to watch Netflix or YouTube. Just because it isn't an issue for you don't mean it's not an issue for some. I'm simply acknowledging what the device is and is not capable of, in comparison to a "traditional" touchscreen tablet. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 32
    Nintendo should abandon hardware. They proved several times how pathetically they failed at delivering good hardware. Remember the Wii U tablet that's 47738382734748299224448392cm thick and had battery life of 20min yet an iPad does million more things, works all day long and was like 7mm thick?

    I want Nintendo to publish their games on Apple hardware most people love them for their game titles not their hardware. (Although wii might be the exception)

    Oh, you think this will never happen? Fine, wasn't talking about that anyway....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 32
    nhughes said:
    If you're buying a Nintendo console to use Netflix, you're obviously not tech savvy enough to use Netflix or a Nintendo console and therefore won't realize this is anything at all. 
    Tell that to parents of kids who use their Wii to watch Netflix or YouTube. Just because it isn't an issue for you don't mean it's not an issue for some. I'm simply acknowledging what the device is and is not capable of, in comparison to a "traditional" touchscreen tablet. 
    I would tell them to use their Wii. And ask them how 2007 is treating them. 
  • Reply 10 of 32
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Outside of Apple, Nintendo is the only company making original hardware. 

    This isn't like an iPad. Nintendo creates its own inventions and OS. Nintendo utilized touch first and has apps before Apple they just blew it when they had a small monopoly on digital software. Apple came in and destroyed them. 

    NY1822 said:
    what is that yellow thing in the last photo? scary...a finger?

    Dude that's Bowser's hands. -_-



    Bowser doesn't judge your fingers. 
    edited March 2017 redgeminipaSolipulseimagesjohn.b
  • Reply 11 of 32

    Nintendo should abandon hardware. They proved several times how pathetically they failed at delivering good hardware. Remember the Wii U tablet that's 47738382734748299224448392cm thick and had battery life of 20min yet an iPad does million more things, works all day long and was like 7mm thick?

    I want Nintendo to publish their games on Apple hardware most people love them for their game titles not their hardware. (Although wii might be the exception)

    Oh, you think this will never happen? Fine, wasn't talking about that anyway....
    There needs to be a controller. As advanced as touch screen controls are, and how they work fine for something like Super Mario Run, you need a real controller to play a real MARIO or zelda game. Nintendo needs you to have the best control and play experience. 

    Nintendo makes a deal with Apple and they release an official controller. Then maybe. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 32
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,151member
    Picked up a Switch today along with Zelda. Loving it, nicest hardware from Nintendo ever. Very, very clever and flexible design. Might not be the most powerful console, but at least it's unique and will have all the AAA Nintendo IPs. 
    pulseimages
  • Reply 13 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,589member
    Throw in the towel and focus on software Nintendo. They should be the Candy Crush of our times. All their games should be on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS3 and Xbox.
    edited March 2017 caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 32
    ireland said:
    Throw in the towel and focus on software Nintendo. They should be the Candy Crush of our times. All their games should be on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS3 and Xbox.
    They'd have no quality control. They'd never do it. Especially Sony. That bridge is long burned. 
    pulseimages
  • Reply 15 of 32
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    slurpy said:
    Picked up a Switch today along with Zelda. Loving it, nicest hardware from Nintendo ever. Very, very clever and flexible design. Might not be the most powerful console, but at least it's unique and will have all the AAA Nintendo IPs. 
    Zelda is getting 10/10 reviews from websites that hate Nintendo. 

    Must be really great. 

    ireland said:
    Throw in the towel and focus on software Nintendo. They should be the Candy Crush of our times. All their games should be on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS3 and Xbox.

    God No. 

    This is like Apple making android devices. 

    watto_cobrapulseimagesjohn.b
  • Reply 16 of 32
    ireland said:
    Throw in the towel and focus on software Nintendo. They should be the Candy Crush of our times. All their games should be on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS3 and Xbox.
    The worst idea ever. 
    pulseimagesjohn.b
  • Reply 17 of 32
    georgie01georgie01 Posts: 242member
    Nintendo should abandon hardware. They proved several times how pathetically they failed at delivering good hardware. Remember the Wii U tablet that's 47738382734748299224448392cm thick and had battery life of 20min yet an iPad does million more things, works all day long and was like 7mm thick?
    The Wii U was a highly underrated game console. I bought a Wii U over 3 years ago and have had awesome use out of it ever since. I've still been playing Splatoon every day. Great games you couldn't play on any other console. It wasn't perfect by any means and had bad timing of release, but if one can ignore their own snobbishness and just play it was really great.

    Just bought a Switch today and hope it has better success and recognition than the Wii U.
    edited March 2017 watto_cobrapulseimages
  • Reply 18 of 32
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,161member
    I received my Switch today. I was a little skeptical about it but decided to preorder one anyway. My initial impression is I think it's a pretty cool hybrid system. Nintendo did a pretty good job with this. The Switch is really what the Wii U should have been. Nintendo definitely learned its lesson. My biggest issue with the Switch is battery life. I played the new Zelda game and the battery only lasted about 2 1/2 hours in hand held mode. If you travel a lot, you will need to bring a power bank. Another negative for me is the lack of titles at release. Other than Zelda, there really isn't much worth playing. Zelda is a pretty good game but its not a 10/10 a lot of reviewers have been giving it. 
    pulseimages
  • Reply 19 of 32
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,863member
    I can't find the Nintendo Switch anywhere. I wonder how long it'll be before I can buy it. Even the simplistic NES Classic is still only available at 3x the MSRP form unscrupulous sellers.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 918member
    ireland said:
    bitmod said:
    It's not Apple so it sucks.
    Apple is the best.
    I love Apple.
    Can you at least try to add something to the conversation.
    Yes, do like Ireland and tell us how much everything sucks. All the time. It adds so much to my day. 
    SoliStrangeDays
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