Sep. 12, 2012 at 4:36 PM ET
Apple on Wednesday showed off its new fifth-gneration iPod touch and, in doing so, pitched the gadget as a powerful little gaming machine.
The new iPod touch will have a bigger screen -- a 4-inch Retina display like the new iPhone 5 -- and will run with on the dual-core A5 processor, which has been used in the iPhone 4S.
With the A5 chip in its guts, that makes this next-gen iPod touch the first to run on a dual-core processor -- which means much snappier gaming. In fact, Apple promises it will have twice the processing power of older-model devices and run graphics up to seven times faster than the previous Touch incarnation with the A4 processor inside.
Apple senior VP Greg Joswiak touted the iPod touch line of gadgets as the world's most popular music player, but added "a lot of people don't realize that it's also the world's most popular video game player as well."
Apple announced that there are currently more than 700,000 apps — including more than 100,000 games -- in the App Store.
Torsten Reil, CEO of NaturalMotion, then showed off their forthcoming "Clumsy Ninja" game app running on the iPod touch, which finds players interacting with a black-clad ninja on screen.
NaturalMotion has been working with Oxford University on the artificial intelligence driving the character, which not only reacts to how you behave, but is "fully aware of his environment" and can learn.
Meanwhile, another boon to gamers is the new iPod touch's battery life -- that's 40 hours for music playback and 8 hours of video. That should mean more juice for gaming as well (though how much more will depend on the game you're playing).
Meanwhile, Apple announced that the new generation of iPod touches will, for the first time, have AirPlay Mirroring, which means you can wirelessly display your iPod's screen up on your HDTV -- a popular feature with those who like to get the big picture when gaming.
The next gen iPod touch will arrive in October and will run $299 for the 32GB version and $399 for 64GB version.
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti, and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.