Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Is Apple Working on a Game Controller for iPhone and iPad?

By - Source: AppleInsider | B 19 comments

A recent iPad 3 review has sparked rumors that a game controller is in the works at Apple.

There are already a number of third-party game controllers for iOS available on the market, but now there are rumors that Apple is working on its own first-party physical controller. The rumors stem from a recent AnandTech review of the iPad (third gen) which claimed that the gadget is in the works.

"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," is what the review actually states. "As smartphones and tablets come close to equaling the performance of current game consoles, I feel like the controller problem must be addressed."

On the Android front, Sony did address the problem by developing the Xperia PLAY, combining touchscreen phone with gamepad. Yet because the mobile phone sector advances so rapidly, it's not at the top of the smartphone food chain. Gamers weren't flocking for the device when it debut, and generally seem quite comfortable using the touch-based input on a whole. Google has even addressed the gaming issue by baking wired and wireless controller support into Google 3.0 "Honeycomb" and later.

As the review points out, in a FPS, the keyboard and mouse combo is far more superior, yet developers focus on the console controller setup (even on PS3). But they've also improved this input method over the last decade, so it's safe to say the same will likely happen with touch-based controls. Even the Xperia PLAY with its two touchpads show that we have a long way to go to reach perfection, but games are definitely playable either way (touch vs gamepad).

For now though, controller support appears to be necessary, and Google with its third-party suppliers are providing on the Android front. Is Apple feeling the pressure? Possibly given that both Google and Apple accounted for 58-percent of the U.S.-based game software revenue by the end of 2011. Apple isn't just competing with Google either -- it now has Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to contend with now. Out of The Big Three, Nintendo will pose as the biggest threat by 4Q12 by infringing on its touch-based tablet space with the Wii U console.

Still, does Apple need to develop its own game controller when third parties are doing a fine job on their own? It probably wouldn't hurt to have an official Apple device, but it would seem that Apple would have already coughed up a controller by now if it thought the device was really necessary. That's just an opinion, of course.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    husker , April 3, 2012 4:03 AM
    I don't know. Stop asking me questions.
  • 11 Hide
    pythy , April 3, 2012 3:53 AM
    Apple would be stupid not to "develop" it's own controller. Just copy the the other controllers, whack an "i" in front of it, mark up the price and voila, brand new Apple controller!!
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    pythy , April 3, 2012 3:53 AM
    Apple would be stupid not to "develop" it's own controller. Just copy the the other controllers, whack an "i" in front of it, mark up the price and voila, brand new Apple controller!!
  • Display all 19 comments.
  • 11 Hide
    husker , April 3, 2012 4:03 AM
    I don't know. Stop asking me questions.
  • 9 Hide
    Super_Nova , April 3, 2012 4:04 AM
    Oh, and don't forget to sue other companies over patents after apple has develloped their original controller.
  • 2 Hide
    darkavenger123 , April 3, 2012 4:14 AM
    Apple will bring motion coming, declare it as the next coming and sue Nintendo and MS for Wii and Kinect for infringing on their patent before they thought of it.
  • -2 Hide
    alidan , April 3, 2012 4:56 AM
    hay apple, you want a controler idea... get a case that you slide the ipad/ipod into, that has sticks/buttons, a dpad, 6 buttons, and 2-4 triggers.

    there you go, you got all you need.

    put out specialty cases for fighting games, and you are set to dominate...

    but dont pull a dick move and discontinue support ipod/pad to ipad... if anything, make the controler case a bit bigger than the device and sell an insert to make the next get ipods/pads fit.
  • 1 Hide
    ikefu , April 3, 2012 5:39 AM
    A controller is pretty much all the stands in the way of smartphones replacing handhelds.

    What Apple/Android needs to dethrone Nintendo and Sony:

    1) The controller needs to either be integrated or in a case slim enough not to make you want to take it off in between gaming sessions. Like cameras, the best gaming device is the one you have with you and keeping track of a phone + temporary case gets in the way.

    2) They need to go all out with 2 slide pads/sticks and the standard 4 buttons + shoulder triggers. The rest of the buttons (d-pad, start/select) can just be on screen buttons

    3) I would really like to see a larger screen to go along with the controller. 3.5 inches seems overly small compared to a 5 inch PS Vita. 4.5 inches would do nicely

    4) Find a way to overcome the stigma phone users have with paying more than $5 for a app/game. If we want the same rich experience you get on a dedicated handheld we need people to be willing to pay $20-30 for brand new games. More than that seems overly high given the digital delivery method but $1 won't support a full dev team
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , April 3, 2012 6:03 AM
    ikefuA controller is pretty much all the stands in the way of smartphones replacing handhelds.What Apple/Android needs to dethrone Nintendo and Sony:1) The controller needs to either be integrated or in a case slim enough not to make you want to take it off in between gaming sessions. Like cameras, the best gaming device is the one you have with you and keeping track of a phone + temporary case gets in the way.2) They need to go all out with 2 slide pads/sticks and the standard 4 buttons + shoulder triggers. The rest of the buttons (d-pad, start/select) can just be on screen buttons3) I would really like to see a larger screen to go along with the controller. 3.5 inches seems overly small compared to a 5 inch PS Vita. 4.5 inches would do nicely4) Find a way to overcome the stigma phone users have with paying more than $5 for a app/game. If we want the same rich experience you get on a dedicated handheld we need people to be willing to pay $20-30 for brand new games. More than that seems overly high given the digital delivery method but $1 won't support a full dev team


    most "games" on phones aren't worth more than 10$, and most games that get ported to them are old classics, and they are competing with roms at that point, and its very hard to beat a computer you can plug your old controllers into with an adapter.

    they need to make it a case, and not integrate it, because that would ad another skew, not something good for a unified platform.

    trust me, if they made a large arcade stick, and you plug the ipad/ipod (preferably ipad) inre and you basically had a portable arcade controls, that would be the best way to go, because most iphone/ipad games are meant to be consumed like arcade games, by the quarter (time investment, not price point)

    and with that, you could get a wiiu style case, which from all sources feels great in your hands, and with the ipod, you don't have to compromise the controls for the sake of portability.

    the stigma of not paying bigprices for games is because none of them are worth 20-30$

    look at most ds and 3ds shovel ware games... would you pay 20-30$ for those?
    there are no AAA games on these devices yet, the closest one is infinity blade (i only played 1) and that is SO not a 20-30$ game and was barely worth the what... 15$ i payed for it... its kind of fun, and pretty, but thats it, there is very little replay value in the game besides doing the same crap over and over again infinatly.
  • 0 Hide
    elcentral , April 3, 2012 6:05 AM
    so you will finaly be able to play games on the pads and smart phones intresting.
  • 0 Hide
    trumpeter1994 , April 3, 2012 12:19 PM
    Apple seriously lacks a hardcore audience and if they enter the gaming market they're probably gonna get smacked around by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Nintendo is already getting ranted about but they still at least have a small number of hardcore games to satisfy people. Oh well I'll just sit back at my gaming rig and watch the fireworks i suppose
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , April 3, 2012 1:09 PM
    trumpeter1994Apple seriously lacks a hardcore audience and if they enter the gaming market they're probably gonna get smacked around by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Nintendo is already getting ranted about but they still at least have a small number of hardcore games to satisfy people. Oh well I'll just sit back at my gaming rig and watch the fireworks i suppose


    if apple goes into the gameing market and they go in to it seriously, sony is screwed... apple can bring out a new product every year, and make a modest leap forward, look at gen 1 to current gen iphone, could sony really do the same with the psp or psv if they had to?

    most sony exclusives also don't lend themselves well to a on the go experience, so even the exclusives wont be missed.

    now nintendo... they have a casual to hard core audience, though the latter is a significantly less, but so long as there is a good mario or a good zelda game, the system will live on.

    apple has the market in small bs games, most being 1$ while the same style game would cost 20-40$ on the ds... so nintendo loses there. the ipod also has more functionality that nintendo... loses there... the only thing nintendo has over apple is gaming history.

    you also have to imagine that if the ipod really does get controles, at least 8 buttons and 2 sticks and 1 dpad, everyone will port their multi platform game to it... getting hardcore games wont be... hard... it will just take longer, and apple has a significant install base...

    what the next generation of nintendo and sony need to do is make an os, something that can go from system to system, and games that can go from platform to platform... make it so if i got a game on the psv2 i can play it on the next system, or the system after than and not rebuy it... as i believe first gen apps work on newest gen hardware, correct? that way they can bring out actual new hardware, and not refreshes, faster.
  • 0 Hide
    nao1120 , April 3, 2012 1:12 PM
    Well laaaaaa deeeee daaaaaaa - I thought the touch screen interface was the way of the future??? Everyone must conform.
  • 0 Hide
    del35 , April 3, 2012 1:23 PM
    Quote:
    Apple would be stupid not to "develop" it's own controller. Just copy the the other controllers, whack an "i" in front of it, mark up the price and voila, brand new Apple controller!!


    The i in front would make it magical and revolutionary.... Yes good idea indeed.
  • 0 Hide
    DaddyW123 , April 3, 2012 1:34 PM
    pythyApple would be stupid not to "develop" it's own controller. Just copy the the other controllers, whack an "i" in front of it, mark up the price and voila, brand new Apple controller!!

    You forgot "revolutionary".
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 3, 2012 2:01 PM
    My impression is that Apple would be better off collecting license by allowing third parties to make controllers.
  • 0 Hide
    molo9000 , April 3, 2012 2:57 PM
    trumpeter1994Apple seriously lacks a hardcore audience and if they enter the gaming market they're probably gonna get smacked around by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Nintendo is already getting ranted about but they still at least have a small number of hardcore games to satisfy people. Oh well I'll just sit back at my gaming rig and watch the fireworks i suppose


    Even most hardcore gamers don't buy handheld consoles. That's why the PS Vita is such a flop.
    They are expensive, cumbersome single purpose devices with low battery life and way too expensive games.
    Why pay $250 + $30 per game for that, if you can play pretty good and cheap games on your phone?

    A good, widely supported (!!!) game controller for phones and tablets would be awesome, but I don't think Apple is going to do that unless they can somehow integrate it into the device.
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus52 , April 3, 2012 3:16 PM
    Developing controllers and other attachments for a tablet seems to me like it's defeating the purpose of the tablet, which is to avoid all that. Buy a better equipped device to begin with.

    ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    lp231 , April 3, 2012 10:38 PM
    I predict their gaming controller to look like a popsicle stick.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , April 4, 2012 10:01 AM
    is there a reason my comments got down voted? i dont think i went at it from the wrong angle.
  • 0 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , April 4, 2012 10:40 PM
    anyway, apple doesn't manufacture anything.
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter