Ultimate Gaming Handheld: Apple iPhone VS. Sony PSP

Everyone loves a big prize fight, whether it's Tito Ortiz vs Chuck Lidell or Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture or... the iPhone vs the PSP?!

With their recent "Let's Rock" event, Apple made a huge play for the handheld gaming space, but can the iPhone really step into that Octagon and tap out the reigning champions?

Only time will really tell, but that won't stop TiPb from taking a look at each device to see how they stack up. Round 1 starts with the Sony PSP... After the jump!

Sony claimed the PSP to be, first and foremost, a gaming device. When it was first released they changed their minds and said it can do so much more, projecting it to be the "first truly integrated portable entertainment system." And it really is impressive, but not without some major flaws. When it's all said and done, it can be considered a portable Playstation 2.


  • 4.3-inch wide-screen display (480x272 pixels)
  • Good battery life.
  • Actual physical controls.
  • WiFi, web browser, and the ability to display images along with the playing of music and videos.


  • Load times on the UMD discs are horrendous.
  • Lack of multimedia functionality
  • WiFi only.
  • Cost of games - $19.99 - $39.99.

Next we have the iPhone, which Steve Jobs declared in the "Lets Rock" keynote, as being one of the best gaming devices on the market. That is a pretty bold statement. Well ok, he was referring to the iPod Touch at the time but for this article's sake, we are using the iPhone-only features.

Some may say that the iPhone is the Wii of the console wars. A lot of people wrote off the Wii simply because of it's lack of a "normal" controller and high-end graphics. The control was something new and innovative and was not immediately embraced by all gamers. And look at the Wii now: very successful with casual gamers and that is the crowd Nintendo was trying to attract. If Apple follows suit, they may have something here. Creating games and marketing them based around how the game is controlled... the accelerometer.


  • 3.5-inch wide-screen display (480x320 pixels).
  • WiFi
  • 3g data connection (iPhone 3g only)
  • Accelerometer
  • No cartridge or discs to carry around
  • World wide digital distribution via the App Store.
  • Cost - $9.99 and under.


  • Lack of physical controls.
  • Lack of games in general.
  • Sub par battery life.
  • Monthly cost for AT&T service.

At this point, it is still too early to say just how well the iPhone will fair with the likes of a Sony in the handheld gaming market. Will Apple topple the competition? It's doubtful, but then again look at the Wii. Many people were unsure how that console would compete as well. This we are sure of... Apple has gotten off to a fantastic start and seems to be in a position to draw first blood in this Octagon.

The next few months will be huge. With some more quality games arriving in the App Store combined with iPhone's flying off of store shelves (Best Buy anyone?) the momentum may start to swing into Apple's favor and they very well may be able to cause some damage to Sony in the handheld gaming wars.

In fact, some of us here at TiPb have already ditched our PSPs in favor the iPhone... what about you?

IM Staff
The collective iMore hivemind

iMore.com is your source for all things Apple, and the IM Staff author represents our collective hivemind, for those occasions when the whole team speaks with one voice to bring you important updates about the site, editorial policies, awards, promotions and more. 

The iMore team of Apple enthusiasts and experts shows you how to get the most out of your tech life by using Apple products and the apps, services, and devices they connect with to their fullest. iMore is a mainstay in the Apple community for good reason. Every single iMore writer and editor takes their job seriously, and we prioritize accuracy and editorial independence in everything we do, never receiving compensation for coverage and never pulling punches.

As well as our amazing group of regular contributors, the iMore staff team currently consists of: Gerald Lynch — Editor-in-Chief Stephen Warwick — News Editor Daryl Baxter — Features Editor John-Anthony Disotto — How To Editor Tammy Rogers — Senior Staff Writer James Bentley — Staff Writer