iPhone 4: What Is a Gyroscope?

Apple is making a fuss over the new front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 by featuring it prominently in early promotional materials. But personally, I think the addition of a gyroscope to the iPhone is much more interesting, important, and useful.

But what exactly is a gyroscope? It’s actually difficult to explain how it works, but the video below does a great job of it:

And Steve Jobs had a nice game demo showing how it will change iPhone gaming (appears toward the end of this clip):

Even the Nintendo Wii’s Wiimote didn’t originally ship with a gyroscope. It wasn’t until the recent WiiMotion Plus Wiimote addon did it get the full spatial-tracking capabilities that combining a gyroscope with an accelerometer brings. And the Wiimote’s gyroscope is only 2-axis, the iPhone’s is 3-axis.

And just think, the addition of the gyroscope could make it possible for the iPhone to function as a WiiMotion-like controller for a new Apple TV with gaming capabilities. A new Apple TV with an App Store and downloadable games would be a bold move into console gaming by Apple.


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