Apple rumored to be working on a hardware gaming controller

Rumor has it that Apple is quietly tinkering with a new device dedicated to making gaming easier on iOS devices. During their 2012 iPad review, AnandTech mentioned:

 I know of an internal Apple project to bring a physical controller to market, but whether or not it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen. As smartphones and tablets come close to equalling the performance of current game consoles, I feel like the controller problem must be addressed.

The best third-party attempt at hardware remotes dedicated to mobile that I've seen to date is Zeemote. but if Apple ends up providing native Bluetooth connection support for standard game controllers like the PS3's, it may circumvent the need for Apple to make anything themselves. Personally, I think the Wii remote would be best suited for the job, at least from a style standpoint.

Apple is most definitely targeting gaming consoles with the new iPad, so the possibility isn't too far-out. Still, any game which makes use of AirPlay basically turns the iOS device into a controller while the image is beamed to your TV. If this Apple project actually comes to fruition, I worry that it will be some bastardized version of the Apple TV remote that isn't remotely ergonomic like the mock-up above, but until we get some more fuel for this rumour, that's not something we have to worry about for the immediate future. Besides that, who knows if it will be used with iOS, or will just be another Apple TV peripheral.

Gamers, how much are you hurting for an Apple-approved dedicated controller? Are touchscreen controls good enough for you as they are?

Source: AnandTech

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Apple rumored to be working on a hardware gaming controller


For casual games it isn't needed..temple run, angry birds,etc..but if they want to port SERIOUS games over it will be needed. I tried playing GTA3 on my iphone and I couldn't manage with the touch screen. If Apple sold a reasonably priced ($40 or less) Bluetooth controller compatible for PC/Mac/Iphone I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

I played GTA on the new iPad. Perhaps it was the larger screen, but I thought the controls of the game were really intuitive and pretty comfortable. It wasn't as great as a physical controller would be and there was a bit of a learning curve, but once I got going, I forgot I was using a touchscreen.

Re: "a new device dedicated to making gaming easier on iOS devices"
Those devices being, of course, Apple TV and the potential Apple television set. Apple doesn't need to create their own physical controller for iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. The touchscreen iOS devices have their own unique control paradigm, and it has proven to be wildly successful for many types of games.
But your big-screen TV is not a touchscreen device, whether it's an Apple branded television set or a TV with an Apple TV box connected to it. That's why Apple might want to design their own physical controller. To bridge the gap from couch to TV set.

"Apple rumored to be working on a hardware gaming controller
Coming to an Apple Store near you.
Retail price: $99.99

That Air play thing if my iPhone was the controller and Apple TV put the image on my flat screen. That would work for me

"Gamers" don't need or want a controller for an iOS device. "Gamers" already own a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 or a gaming PC. Gaming, at least in the sense of hardcore gamers, has never been nor ever will be an area for Apple to shine. Casual gaming, yes. But no one truly needs a remote for casual gaming.

A full on PS3 type of controller would be AWESOME! I travel a lot and to be able to play a FPS with a physical controller would be great. I miss my frag sessions when I'm on the road.

I am in this EXACT same camp: I live half my life on the road and would kill for some sort of dual-analog controller that gave me a more satisfying way to play games like Modern Combat. Touchscreen will never satisfy me for those sorts of games.

I can tell you what I DONT want. and that I something Xbox or PS3 like. If it requires me to carry a device as big as my phone, it is fail. I can see how it might be desirable as an iPad controller, but when would it be used? The iPad is too small for a living room, and on a plane or train, too close to you.
Something that clipped onto the bottom of the iPhone, with dual analogues and a couple of buttons, or was held indepently for the iPad would be good.