Is Apple working on its own game controller? A new patent suggests it!

What do you want to know

  • A new patent points to three new types of gamepads.
  • A new folio controller could also serve as a secondary display.
  • The controllers would work with iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs.

A new patent suggests that Apple is working on a new game controller for iPhone, iPad and even Apple TV hardware.

The new patent, recently filed with the European Patent Office and spotted by Patently Apple, indicates that at least three potential game controllers are in the works. They would all be used in slightly different ways, but would all make it easier for people to play games on their devices without the need for a third-party offering. In some cases, these controllers would also offer features that others cannot.

An example of controllers Apple might be working on is something similar to BackBone One, a controller that would house an iPhone. The gaming grip could also be used with an iPad, the patent suggests, while the setup immediately reminds me of how Joycons attach to a Nintendo Switch.

Another example, and perhaps the most interesting, is one that looks more like a folio case than a traditional controller. In this example, the folio could serve as a touchscreen game controller or secondary display.

Apple Controller Patent Drawings

Apple Controller Patent Drawings (Image credit: Apple Patent)

As Patently Apple points out, the second screen could be used for much more than gaming, including FaceTime calls and more.

A second style of game controller is an iPhone game folio. Apple shares here a number of the concepts presented below that its engineering team has been working on. The part of the folio that will be located in front of the iPhone screen for game content could actually be a full or partial secondary display that could provide users with messages about the game, such as your game character is in poor health, or that the user is receiving a text, email, or FaceTime call from friends, family, or business associates. It could also be used to accept other players wishing to join a multiplayer game.

The third option would be closer to the traditional game controller, although it does have a switch that would allow players to enter text and more. However, this controller seems more likely to fit an Apple TV device. It’s suggested the Switch could also be used to answer phone calls and more, which Apple TV hardware is currently unable to do – suggesting the controller would also work with iPhones.

As is always the case, however, patents do not always turn into products. While an Apple-designed game controller would surely be the best iPhone option yet, it could be years out of production – if it were ever to come out.

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