Nintendo has clearly been inspired by Apple recently. The DS Lite and Wii sport stylish lines that match those of Apple's iPod and Macbook lines perfectly, and the retro-game download service on their upcoming home console sounds a lot like an 'iGames' store. Given their mutually exclusive markets and somewhat similar design and business philosophies, it's an easy conclusion to jump to that the two companies could somehow work together. Indeed, there were some rumours a short while ago that Apple was interested in a takeover of the Kyoto-based gaming giant, however it really wouldn't have been possible. A partnership seemed the only likely possibility, and according to MacRumours.com, that may actually be on the cards.
MacRumours cites a source that claim the next major revision of the iPod will feature a directional pad and be able to play games. It seems that Apple actually posted a job listing for an embedded game developer about a year ago, and some recent patent filings include iPod designs with various gamepads. The big rumour for us, of course, is that the machine will allegedly be able to play classic Nintendo games. How exactly this will happen has not been suggested, but some have speculated connectivity with the Wii's virtual console as a method of transfer.
It still seems unlikely that Nintendo would go for this, given that it has a perfectly good portable platform to connect with the Wii in the DS. But with both companies competing with both Sony and Microsoft on their home turf...well you know the saying: "the enemy of my enemy..."