Although there are several third-party gamepads for iOS devices, Apple could yet build its own. This week, the company was granted a patent for a gaming accessory that it first filed back in 2008, according to Patently Apple.
The patent describes a type of shell for a device that can accept portable devices such as an [company]Apple[/company] iPhone or iPod touch. The accessory has both a directional pad and control buttons, as well as a “connector insert,” or interface jack similar to a lightning port or 30-pin slot. The connector insert rotates upward to accept an iOS device, and then back down to place the touchscreen device inside the gamepad.
The patent also describes additional parts for the gamepad to enhance game play, such as its own speakers, vibration mechanism, camera and microphone.
I don’t game much on my iOS devices; the lone exception being WSOP these days. Part of the reason for that is because I’m not a big fan of using touchscreen controls, particularly for complex games with multiple interaction methods. Give me one control on each side of the screen and I’m OK. More buttons or sticks than that and I get frustrated quickly; my hands are covering controls — or the main action in the game — and the experience feels lacking.
As a result, I looked into some third-party options such as the Moga Ace and Logitech Power Shell (pictured above) some time ago. Both were reasonable options at the time, but I’d still like to see what Apple could make for its own devices. I’m not expecting it though: Most iOS games are written with touch controls in mind. Unless that changes, I don’t think Apple will get into this market.