AnandTech: Apple has physical game controller in development for iOS

“With Honeycomb and subsequent versions of Android, Google baked in wired and wireless controller support into the OS. NVIDIA worked with game developers to ensure proper support for these controllers made it into their games and as a result there are a number of titles available through Tegra Zone that offer support for external gamepads. Logitech’s Wireless Gamepad F710 comes with a USB nano receiver that can be plugged into the Transformer Prime’s dock,” Anand Lal Shimpi reports for AnandTech. “It’s using this controller that I played Shadowgun, GTA 3 and Riptide. Out of the three, the ability to use a gamepad made GTA 3 much more enjoyable (and it made me much better at the game as well).”

“Although many casual Android/iOS games do just fine with touch, some are certainly better suited for some sort of a controller. While controller support in Android in its infancy at best, it’s more than iOS currently offers,” Lal Shimpi reports. “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.”

“There’s also the chance that physical controls will lose out entirely with these devices. A friend of mine in the game industry once said that we are too quick to forget how superior input devices don’t always win. The keyboard + mouse is a much more precise setup for a first person shooter, but much FPS development these days is targeted at gamepads instead,” Lal Shimpi reports. “The same could eventually be true for touch based devices, but it’s too early to tell. Until then I’m hoping we see continued controller support in Android and hopefully that’ll put some pressure on Apple to do the same. It is an important consideration for the future of gaming on these platforms.”

Tons more in the full iPad (2012) review here.

MacDailyNews Take: We, too, hope for much more than just this, even though without it (or things like this and this) our old school games addiction wouldn’t exist on iPad at all. Some games – old and new – demand a physical controller.

[Attribution: MacNN. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Eye/head tracking, accelerometer, gyroscope, voice commands, and some force-measure buttons could all be combined to make the perfect game controller.

    1. The controller is far from dead – limited acceptance of Wii Motionplus and Kinect amongst hardcore gamers has shown that, and touch controls are no substitute. The idea of a licensed Apple controller is an excellent way of getting Third-party iPad devs to more seriously consider it as a hardcore gaming platform, and when you think about how such an accessory could potentially fit into Apple’s rumoured future television plans….well, it could seriously shake up the home console market.

      Of course, as mentioned, Apple have already explored -and are exploring- loads of alternatives, but this one could have a real immediate impact.

  2. Think Geek currently offers a few controllers. But I agree wholeheartedly that Apple needs to actively support iOS controllers through native software interfaces including both dock and wireless connectivity. A touch/tilt interface is not necessarily best for all apps. I miss the old school joystick, thumbpad, and buttons. The big, red, concave buttons on the old arcade games were the best!

    For those who are interested, I searched for “iPad controller” and found the following five items..

    I searched just on “iPad” because I knew that an old school iPad interface existed and found iCADE – iPad Arcade Cabinet.

    I suspect that there are more iOS controllers out there.

  3. I think if you are such a serious gamer you ain’t using a idevice at all. So until Apple has their own gaming unit or games on the Apple TV there will not be a physical controller. iPad games just do not need such serious control… they are simple games for pasting the time.

    1. Hmm, that’s a little like someone in 2007 saying ‘If you’re serious about using a phone for business, you wouldn’t get one without a physical keyboard’. Just have a look at the big name games on the App Store now: GTA, Dead Space, Real Racing, Command & Conquer…it’s happening. Plus, FIFA 12 added support for using iPhones/IPods as external controllers to play 2-player on one iPad – by popular request. There *is* a demand for this.

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