Apple patenting iPhone gamepads

Ubiquitous hardware company admits playing games on devices is "somewhat awkward" in USPTO filing for peripherals with rumble, dedicated game buttons for iPhone, possibly iPad.

During a presentation last September, Apple executives played up gaming on the iPhone--and dismissed the PSP and DS as inferior products. Senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Philip W. Schiller blasted the platforms as having overly expensive games. He also said that the iPhone's lack of dedicated buttons actually made it a superior gaming platform to Sony or Nintendo's portables.

For a company that thinks dedicated gaming buttons is a bad idea, Apple sure files some funny patents.

Ironically, Schiller's swagger directly contradicts the wording in a patent application, which surfaced this week. Originally filed by Apple in September 2008, the patent states that gaming can "be somewhat awkward, particularly on a portable electronic device having a touch screen. The same screen used for viewing an avatar's activities is used to control the avatar. This arrangement causes the user's fingers [to] block the action. Thus, while these portable electronic devices include a highly efficient interface, when playing games it is often desirable to have a more specialized user interface."

As some might suspect, Apple's patent filing was for an accessory to the iPhone, which would offer dedicated gaming buttons. According to the filing, "The game accessory can have input controls, such as buttons, joysticks, and D pads. Another example provides a game accessory having a thumb pad or keyboard. Other possible features include microphones, cameras and camera lenses, speakers, a second screen, rumble, and motion detection."

Apple's patent mentions the iPhone and iPod Touch explicitly.

Illustrations accompanying the filing show an accessory, which allows an iPhone--and potentially the just-released iPad--to be slid into it. The filing reads, "The game accessory may have a recess sized to fit the portable electronic device. Inserts or removable adapters can be used to fit portable electronic devices having different sizes. The portable electronic device can be held in the accessory using sliding covers, clips, or other engaging members. In other examples, the accessory can communicate with another accessory for head-to-head game play. The accessory may include circuitry for power, identification, and authorization."

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270 comments
ghost392
ghost392

@ZeroXraven Nah they are pretty much raping handhelds with the most AAA's

Suly_K
Suly_K

lol wats da point of touch screen den, rather stay wid da psp :P

Franzkill
Franzkill

Four Words: SONY. E3. ANNOUNCEMENT. PSP2.

RockaWuzHur
RockaWuzHur

Oh and to all the naysayers of the iPhone, it is currently the best smartphone avalible but, other than that Apple SUCKS ASS. I mean they are awful, Mac is just eye candy with horrible customer service. The iPad is a disgrace and really is just a larger iTouch with a few more meaningless features.The iTouch is cool but everything else Apple makes is overpriced and worthless.

RockaWuzHur
RockaWuzHur

I'm gonna agree with @tremor33. But I hope this comes to fruition, I love my iphone but most of the games are really difficult to play.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Interesting. If they could make the games controllable then it just might be worth playing on. Hopefully this patent turns into a product...

tremor33
tremor33

something that should have been optional since day 1...

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Yay Apple: Buy this then buy the revised version, but wait a new model has come out with fluffy ears on!

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

Apples game controller accessory. Now only $399

fps_d0minat0r
fps_d0minat0r

the day psp2 comes out with 2 thumb sticks and better resolution will be the day i will take handhelds seriously. until then every handheld system sucks.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

@Alex-09 - It most definitely could happen, eventually IMO... just because we may be waaaay off right now with what's in the market means nothing. I mean most people - dedicated Ninty fans included - wrote off Nintendo during the Gamecube days, and look at them now. I'm just saying that using the term "that COULDN'T happen" is a bit short sighted... anything is possible, anything

Alex_09
Alex_09

@SicklySunStorm That couldn't happen. No matter what they try, in the end the ipad is just a simplified laptop and the iphone is still a phone. Nintendo will always destroy any other handheld platform, not to mention is always ten steps ahead of the competitors(with handhelds, definitely not with the regular consoles). I do agree with the apple exec when he says handheld games are way too expensive. Some of the ds games I have should never have cost more than 20 dollars.

Daian
Daian

@Elite__83 @linkdarkside @HectorFAO and so on , indeed Apple's greedy little hands are trying their luck in something they shouldn't even touch. Did they seriously say that the iPhone is a superior gaming platform to PSP and DS ? Are u freakin' kidding me? The iPhone is the most overrated phone out there, there are more than a dozen touchscreen phones better than the iPhone for a similar price, it really is just so called eye candy and good marketing. Add to that the sheep mentality of many people and they will buy any shiny new toy that is popular ( can anybody say overrated and way overpriced iPad? ). Apple could probably make the iTurd and say it's great for skin complexion and the mindless sheep would buy it :P

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

like it or not, the iPod and iPad may eventually end up being a huge market commercially within gaming... it's critical success though, like much of that with the Wii, will likely be held in question in a similar way. prove us wrong, Apple

HectorFAO
HectorFAO

Apple better go somewhere with that. This is SONY's, x360's ,PC's and i guess Wii's spot. Not MAC! They better stay away from this part of the ocean before the sharks of gaming gets em.

linkdarkside
linkdarkside

i rather play video games on a console or PC.not on a smart phone.

Elite__83
Elite__83

This is almost laughable, I own an iTouch (I didn't actually buy it, it was a gift) and about the only thing it does WELL is play music, and even then I have to have Apple's terrible product installed on my computer to sync stuff to it, which means I have to restart into Windows from Linux anytime I want new music on it. But anyways - The iTouch is terrible at gaming, it has some catchy games, but I'd say 90% of the games on iTouch/Phone are just stupid flash game ports, or the equivalent of them. Apple is all about eye candy and not specs or anything else, I really dis-like apple.

-supercharged-
-supercharged-

Buttons are required for any device that is serious about gaming. So this is good news but I am still skeptical until I see some actual accessories.

kamizuka
kamizuka

frankly the iphone looked like a cool phone but it irritates me now after knowing that it was ment for stupid gaming

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

Apple designing a game pad? What's it gonna be called? The iPad.....wait a minute, that's taken.

Fureh
Fureh

Me: Yeah..I'm fine with my PSP thanks Apple:But..buttons..hard to..press Me:No it's fine Apple:BUTTONS!!

Hugomanen
Hugomanen

So once again apple reveals a bit more hypocrisy. Apple consists of pr departments, designers and accountants, their technical department is three guys rummaging the bins of dated technology...

Jona7hanLee
Jona7hanLee

Could be useful, and for games like Street Fighter (which are clumsy to use without an external controller) this would be ideal.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

@snipeshot11. You really need to open your eyes and realise that Apple is a brutal company. and i agree with Drizzt_79 comment. 'A majority of people don't care about specs... all they see is a cool, shiny, beautiful new toy.' -So apple knows how to play on these people. However Apples new product is not in a class of itself, its just the only product of its type and size, there is nothing futuristic or revolutionary or even fashionable about the Ipad -Nothing! the specs are crap and outdated for what it try's hard to be. Secondly we don't need another game console or wanna be game console or company for that matter, We don't need Apple exclusive games, Sony is already the family entertainment unit enough despite what people say it seems they really trying with the PS3 to make people happy. i am sure they could make the PS3 as big as the iPad if they really really wanted too but i understand it would'nt make sense to do that just yet and Microsoft are just there doing what they do and playing there part and keeping people happy. Nintendo is just that Nintendo and i won't knock them either but i say out with the bad Apple .

HappyBB
HappyBB

I think I smell lawsuit(s) against Apple from those rumbling technology companies.

snipeshot11
snipeshot11

@ Sammoth Owner of Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, DS, both apple and windows laptops, both apple and windows desktops and as mentioned before they all have their advantages...yeah, real big fanboy pal..I was just stating that Apple is not a brutal company, not once did I say Microsoft was a bad company. Simply comparing the two but you obviously don't have the brain capacity to realize this..

salvucci91
salvucci91

When I read the title of this article, I immediately thought "wow, I have to purchase ANOTHER iPhone to keep up"? But nope, an accessory is what they're making (let's hope it's not too overpriced); this way they don't have to decide on one button design, different developers could create their own gaming accessory according to their game designs.

salvucci91
salvucci91

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Whatever, as long as it improves my gaming experience on one of the devices I own, then i'm happy with it.

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

how about i use my iphone like a phone, and use my consoles for games. I truly don't understand where people have all this time to play portable games. I guess if you commute on a subway every day or your mommy drives you to school and its an hour away. I bought a ds and psp, then 6 months latter i realized there is no point or time to play games away from my consoles. if i have two minutes on a train or something i do something amazing. Read.

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

That's terrible. There are many small electronics firms that were developing or have developed peripherals like these for the iTouch and iPhone.

Ninjeti
Ninjeti

Pretty soon apple is going to make iphone vs DS commercials like they love make tons of stupid mac vs windows commercials.

ecko1o
ecko1o

You idiots get deceived so easily. Apple never "dismissed" the psp and the ds as inferior products, that is a statement by the author of this gamespot news article. What Apple said was that the iphone had the potential to be superior. You people fail to see the bias in this article and lack critical thinking. You deserve nothing better than to remain the sheeple you are, to be manipulated at a whim by the media.

inferno394
inferno394

apple has the nerve to compare this abomination to PSP and DS is one thing, but to say they are inferior? Really?!!? At $500+ dollars I could buy a PSP, DS, and some games.This device is a disgrace to the real Gaming Community. apple........ your fired!!

Talldude80
Talldude80

Apple's theory: if we make it, they will buy it. and basically they have a cult following that actually does buy almost anything that apple makes. The ipad doesnt look that great to me and VERY overpriced. and the controller plugin? thats hilarious. I'd love to see somebody with an ipad (aka big ipod) on the table with a controller sticking out of it, playing some simple ipad game. LOL! *points and laughs*

CFritzRun
CFritzRun

I just don't understand. If you're willing to buy an overpriced i-product and then pay extra so you can have buttons (thus rendering the touch screen appeal kind of null and void), then why wouldn't you just get a DSi XL or 2 since you can buy almost 3 of them for the price of one iPad. I know they specifically only mention the iPhone/pods but you know that if they fully develop this they'll make it iPad compatible too.

slingshot_ylo
slingshot_ylo

Oh Apple, hubris alone will not make you king.

SquareRocks
SquareRocks

I like buttons...fingers too fat for iphone

angelGP32
angelGP32

you guys do realize that it's an MP3 player and not a gaming device nor was it intended to ever be strictly a gaming device and that gaming is just something extra it can do from it's primary function as a music player?

zkayo
zkayo

In a gaming forum is logical that any stuff about "casual" gaming will have negative votes, since here the most people are "real" gamers, and the casual gamers, well, they don't play that much so why they will be posting in a gaming forum any way... Now, the negatives votes are actually against the "casual" gaming vibe than the companies behind them, if apple give me a device for a real, great and deep game experience I'll definitely want it. The problem about these "casual" games are that they are done to be fun, but most of them are simple, not deep story and by any mean complex (really few exceptions). And if this is the tend for the market (where the money is) in the future we are going to see more and more from these devices and games, and less from our great graphics, great gameplay and deep history games that we love. too bad actually.

jeffv541
jeffv541

Go try Nova, Tower Madness, Zenonia, Zenonia 2, Grand Theft Auto CTW, Doom RPG2, Hookchamp, Cube, Labyrinth, Doodle Jump, Across Age, or Jungle Crash. Then Judge the iPhone. It's even got Final Fantasy 1+2, Tony hawk 2, and Rayman 2. There has already been four times as many good games this year on the iPhone than on the PSP and DS put together, and I own all 3.

jeffv541
jeffv541

@samfranza this article is about the regular sized iPhone. And your not funny.

StealthMonkey4
StealthMonkey4

"...and dismissed the PSP and DS as inferior products..." Oh wow Apple :lol: I don't know one person who actually prefers the iPod touch/iPhone as a a gaming device.

LuckyStreak13
LuckyStreak13

heck yes! this will make the controls way more better

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Yes but can you play games in 3D like the Nintendo 3DS will. No. Apple will still have to play with the "king" of handhelds.