Nintendo President Satoru Iwata is speaking up about his thoughts on Apple and their potential impact on Nintendo, calling Apple their "enemy of the future".

Anyone who's ever visited the App Store is already aware of the plethora of games available for iPhone/iPod touch and now, iPad.  Up until now, the big guys in the physical console business had stayed pretty quiet.  But it appears Nintendo is changing their tune.  Iwata is believed to have told his senior executives to consider the battle with Sony a victory already won and to switch their focus to something different.  That something different would be Apple.

No one can deny Apple's impact on the gaming industry.  As of right now, there are over 180,000 apps in the iTunes app store.  Around 30,000 of those apps are games.  With the addition of the iPad, we can only assume that number will continue to climb upward.  As consumers decide on handheld gaming devices, an iPhone/iPod Touch or iPad is just as worthy of a contender as a DS or PSP these days.  Nintendo had intended for the DS to capture audiences other than the typical male gamer stereotype, but as Times Online states,

The company’s recent strategy has centred on creating devices aimed not just at children and dedicated — generally male — gamers, but at the whole family. Two years ago, the company claimed to have permanently altered the demographics of video games by raising the average age and the gender mix of gamers. Unfortunately, the very people it claimed to have converted — high-school girls and men aged between 30 and 40 — reported that they would rather have an iPhone than a DS in their pockets or handbags.

Developers are really what make the app store so successful at the end of the day.  From a development standpoint, the startup costs aren't insane and most development companies are seeing a large return on those investments.  Many larger gaming companies have also developed iPhone OS versions of their games that have done extremely well, such as Gameloft.  And for the end consumer, when the average price of an iPhone app is $3 while a console game costs above $20, most people may opt for having more games at a cheaper price.

At this point, it's only wise for Nintendo to consider Apple a valid competitor.

[MacRumors, via Times Online]