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New patent suggests Apple working on iOS game controller

A new patent filing from Apple lends evidence to repeated claims that the company is working on its own game controller for iPhone and iPad.

We’ve heard constant murmurings over the years that Apple is interested in developing game-specific hardware. In particular, the company has filed patent applications for iOS game controllers in its native US.

This latest patent application, as uncovered by Patently Apple, was issued in Europe.

What’s interesting here is that the patent runs through a couple of potential game controller designs. The first resembles Nintendo’s Joy-Con approach for the Switch console, with two separate hand holds positioned either side of an iPhone or iPad.

The other suggestion is for a folio case with integrated gaming controls. This latter one would appear to position a secondary touch display opposite the iPhone screen, with scope for gaming UI elements to be displayed alongside the virtual joypad controls.

As any gamer will tell you, virtual controls rarely work out too well, at least when it comes to more demanding or fast-paced games. But we could certainly get onboard with with a mini-Switch set-up.

Apple has also filed a third concept for a more traditional game controller that could also be used on an Apple TV. While this controller looks a lot like a classic console controller, it contains a slider switch that would move it between game, phone call, and messaging modes.

The sheer number of game controller concepts listed in this latest splurge would suggest that Apple is still running through its options when it comes to the future of gaming on iOS. Don’t expect to see an official Apple controller any time soon, in other words.

Still, it’s good to know that the company is still thinking of how to take that next step after 2019’s Apple Arcade.

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