Apple just started selling the PS5 DualSense controller — but why?

Sony PS5 Dualsense Controller
(Image credit: Sony via thegameawards YouTube)

Update: Forget the DualSense, Apple could be developing its own gaming controller

Apple has unexpectedly started selling the PS5’s gamepad in the U.S.. The supremely comfortable PS5 DualSense controller is listed in the Apple store at its normal MSRP of $69.95, and is in stock for delivery next week, though notably in-store pickup is “currently unavailable.”

Apple’s sales pitch only mentions the perpetually out-of-stock PlayStation 5 in passing, and the focus is more on the new native support for connecting your PS5 controller to iPhones and iPads. “Raise your game with the PlayStation DualSense wireless controller,” the listing reads. “It pairs directly with your compatible iPad, iPhone, Mac or Apple TV via Bluetooth, bringing signature PlayStation comfort and next-gen precision to your gaming experience.”

PS Remote Play does get a mention, with Apple highlighting that you can also stream PS5 and PS5 games to your Apple device over Wi-Fi. But it’s a secondary point, with Apple understandably keen to put its own Arcade offerings front and center, given the emphasis the company put on the quality of its gaming library.    

PS5 DualSense overkill for iOS?

The PS5 DualSense joins a limited selection of dedicated game controllers stocked by Apple. There’s also the SteelSeries Nimbus+ (also $69.95), the Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller ($49.95) and the Razer Kishi iPhone grip ($99.95) which clips to either side of your iPhone for a Switch-like experience. 

This betrays something important: loads of Bluetooth controllers will work happily with iOS devices, and Amazon is awash with iOS-compatible game controllers for a whole lot less than $70. While these vary massively in build quality and comfort, in most cases the DualSense controller will be overkill, especially when its most striking features like the advanced haptics and adaptive triggers won’t be utilized by Apple Arcade titles. The Microsoft Xbox controller is also cheaper at $59.99, just as comfortable and works brilliantly with iOS (even if Game Pass feels a little underdone on Apple’s mobile platforms.)  

Even if you plan to stream a lot of PS4 and PS5 games, most people would be better off saving $20 and sourcing a DualShock 4 pad instead, given plenty of the DualSense’s features (including haptics and its built-in speaker) don’t seem to work remotely

Still, if you’ve been lucky enough to find PS5 stock, having a second DualSense controller for two-player couch gaming is always nice. And soon it looks like you’ll be able to pick up a spare at your nearby Apple Store, though it’s not clear if the company will be stocking the new DualSense colors or sticking to the boring old white launch unit.  

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.