If you are from the United States or enjoy its culture, then chances are you’ve sold your soul to Apple and AT&T Wireless in order to get the slickest and most hyped up cellular telephone in history, the Apple iPhone. Currently, Apple has released the second generation of iPhone, which features a slimmer design and is fully capable of accessing the roughly 300Mbps download speed compliant 3G network. With the advent of iTunes being installed on every computer in the world and the iPhone being released in other parts of the globe such as Europe and South America, many have wondered what’s in store for the next generation of iPhone. As poker players, we’re always taking the process one step further.
“I believe that the iPhone can help the online poker industry in that it would get more people aware of the game and bring in more players,” commented Derek Dunifer, on online poker pro. “I’m not sure if the publicity would be good. I could see people getting caught playing at work. Certainly, I would try it out on my iPhone if it were ever released.”
Clearly the big stumbling block for poker hopefuls are the current iPhone’s ability to handle an application that can include a constant flow of data a poker room requires as well as the security necessary to keep information safe. A final stumbling block has been Apple’s reluctance to go near anything close to controversial in its iPhone App Store, which in recent weeks has rejected applications ranging from a South Park video game to iBoob (no explanation necessary). If, as some industry experts expect to happen, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is repealed and online poker becomes a legal and regulated industry in the United States, it would seem that the legal and ethical doors for online poker on an iPhone would be wide open.
According to several internet websites that focus (accurately) on upcoming iPhone technologies, Apple is rumored to debut two or even three new models of iPhones that could be hitting the store shelves in June. The possibility of an 8GB “Entry Level” iPhone offering no 3G service, no video, and a current standard resolution screen at a low price of $99 is apparently in the works. The other side of the release would be an updated 3G iPhone that would be between $199 and $299 that offers 3G speeds, a higher resolution screen (upgraded to 720×480 from the current 480×320), an upgraded camera that supports video capture, and 16GB or 32GB models.
Given the specs of the iPhone 3G edition rumored to be coming in June, it would seem that there would be no technological impasse in allowing the major online poker rooms to release an application for players to access their sites from anywhere in the world. But how would a developer look at the feasibility and end result should such an application be released?
Michael Zahalan, an enterprise level web developer for a Fortune 500 company based out of San Diego, California, comments, “The game play of iPhone users would tend to create higher turnover at tables and slower action. But, as the computer users would most likely outnumber iPhone users, these game play side effects could be minimal. I also think high-stakes game play wouldn’t be affected at all. In regards to a profitability standpoint, there certainly is no doubt that the more players per hour there are on a poker site, the more profitable they’ll be.”
Putting together the pieces of the puzzle in this speculative report, it seems that the current obstacles needed to be resolved for this to happen would be:
1. UIGEA is repealed and replaced with legislation making online poker legal and regulated
2. Apple releasing a higher resolution 3G compatible iPhone
3. Online poker rooms developing custom applications for their software that are approved by Apple
4. Consumer adoption of application
Although it seems farfetched that these four bullet points would play out within the coming months, it’s reasonable that, within the next five years, all of the above would fall into place. Given that Apple is slated to release a new iPhone line this summer and Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) may introduce online poker legislation in the coming weeks, it might all happen sooner than we think.