DS has been with us for what, five or six years now? If it were a console, it'd be near the end of it's life. But Nintendo doesn't launch handhelds often, especially compared to consoles. Revisions, yes. Not an new line. In fact Nintendo is more than happy to milk a console for as long as possible, and seems to rather hate launching new consoles. At least this was the attitude with the previous President, Iwata is his own person but it's obvious he spends the company's money more on the conservative side as well.
If we look at Nintendo's history with handhelds, they only seem to launch a new line in response to something else. After more than a decade of GB, GBA was launched. I believe in an attempt to help their home console division. Remember the connectivity between GBA and GC? That didn't go anywhere, but I still believe was an attempt to get the massive GB fanbase to buy a GC to at the very least, go next to their PS2. And the DS, which of course was in development for years, was no doubt rushed onto stores to combat the PSP.
But the DS is still selling like hotcakes. PSP has done well in it's own right, but it doesn't move the units or games the DS does. So why is Nintendo looking to launch a new DS so soon? And I think it is soon, since a vast majority of us were taken by surprise at the announcement. No one expected a "DS2" this early.
Could Nintendo be changing their strategy? Try to stay ahead of the curve, instead of waiting for Sony to announce a new handheld? Or is there a product out there now, that has forced Nintendo to make a move?
I'm talking about Apple, and their iPhone/iPod Touch. We've seen how well they're doing, and some claim the report on them isn't even accurate. That they're doing much better. The report didn't take into account the "freemium" games, which let's you DL free games as stand alone fare, but you can buy additional content as time goes by. They say if they could accurately take those numbers into account, Apple is doing much better.
Did this force Nintendo's hand? Are they hoping to combat Apple now, before they get a bigger foothold? Or does Nintendo really have nothing to fear, and a launch of a new handheld has nothing to do with Apple. Just Nintendo's desire to launch a new line?