Apple is working on a game controller, new patent reveals

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Apple is working on a game controller, new patent shows

Mobile gaming is getting more and more popular each year, and according to Newzoo, by 2023, there will be 3.7 billion mobile players worldwide. Apple completely acknowledges the power of mobile gaming, after all, Apple Arcade was launched for a reason.

Now, according to the latest patent (uncovered by Patently Apple), the company from Cupertino is gearing up to explore another market niche in the gaming industry – game controllers.

The patent in question is titled “Magnetically attachable gaming accessory,” and it was filed back on August 27, 2021. The patent was granted to Apple by the US Patent & Trademark Office and the European Patent Office on March 31, 2022 – paving the legal way for a range of Apple gaming accessories.

The abstract is pretty straightforward: “Accessories that can improve a specific functionality of an electronic device, can readily attach to an electronic device, can be easy to use, and can have a small and efficient form factor. One example can provide a gaming accessory that can improve the game playing functionality of an electronic device, such as a phone, tablet, or other computing device. This gaming accessory can provide a physical interface for controlling game activities on the electronic device such that a screen of the electronic device remains at least largely unobstructed during game play.”

Apple game controller

If we take a look at the drawings in the patent papers, it is clear that Apple is exploring several different designs. There’s a version that looks similar to the Joy-Con controllers that attach to the sides of the Nintendo Switch console. This version of the Apple game controller will work with iPhones and iPads in both landscape and vertical orientation.

The second design looks like a case that includes a controller, and also features a small screen in the center, between the hardware buttons. Apple envisions gamers using this smaller screen for typing while in-game, removing the need to use the virtual keyboard on the phone itself, thus saving screen estate for gaming.

This second screen would also be able to show additional in game content – such as statistics, different vitals and metrics (health bars, scores), and also serve as additional touch controls when needed.

The third version is a traditional, completely separate gaming controller similar to your normal PlayStation or Xbox “Joystick.” There are several versions of this controller, one of which also sports an integrated display.

Our take

It’s important not to forget that we’re talking about patents here. No matter how logical or exciting an Apple game controller might sound, there are absolutely no guarantees that it’d even happen.

With that being said, this is not the first time an alleged Apple game controller pops up on the internet. Back in April 2020, a leaker posted on twitter that later in 2020, or in early 2021 we’re going to see Apple’s new game controller.

Now, obviously two years have passed since with no Apple controller anywhere to be found (except in the patent papers) but with the growing popularity of mobile gaming, and the notoriously long patent-product route that Apple has been following, there are chances we might see this Apple controller later this year, or in 2023.

There’s no way of knowing which version Apple would choose, if the company ever decides to go forward with this but we tend to lean toward the case-controller, as it’s the most practical one. What about you? Which version would you like to see happening?

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