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Is this the first Apple-approved game controller for iOS 7?

At last week’s WWDC conference Apple announced that the new iOS 7 software would officially support gaming accessories for the first time.

Now, one week on, the first picture of what’s to come when the OS launches later this year, may have appeared online.

A snap of the purported gamepad from accessory-maker Logitech, which has been confirmed as an Apple partner alongside Moga, has appeared on the Kotaku gaming site and looks a little like an early-gen PSP console.

It’s got a directional pad, five buttons (one likely to be Start) and a lightning connector for an iPhone or iPod touch to be inserted. We can’t tell for sure whether or not there’s shoulder buttons, as Apple suggested in its recently-published hardware mock-ups.

That being said, there are likely to be two kinds of controllers emerging alongside a new iPhone model and the launch of iOS 7 later this year.

The first will likely follow the look of the leaked photo above and will allow the iPhone to become part of a handheld game console. The other is will hook up with the iOS deveice via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or AirPlay without the need for physical docking.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first iOS gaming accessory. There’s loads, but these third-party efforts haven’t benefited from native support at an OS-level before. The new controllers will likely bear the branding “Made for iPhone,” as with other officially-licensed accessories.

Apple’s new-found enthusiasm for gaming peripherals should allow more game developers to include support for accessories, instead of those accessories having to use workarounds that often don’t translate.

During Steve Jobs’ time, the company had dismissed the idea of such accessories due to the inability of third-party makers to match the premium design aesthetics of the iPhone and iPad.

Now the company has embraced a somewhat more moderate ethos on the matter, the door is now open for manufacturers to produce accessories that would eliminate the awkwardness of touchscreen gaming for some titles that have been designed with a more traditional control system in mind.

We’d also love to see an official Apple game controller made by the company. Perhaps that’ll arrive alongside a new iPhone model during the traditional release schedule this autumn?

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