For quite a while now, rumor and speculation have suggested that Apple could be planning to release its very own gaming controller for iOS. Third parties, if you’ll excuse the pun, seem way ahead of the game in this respect, with many vendors and developers already supporting the traditional physical peripheral, but if Apple were to go ahead and bring its own official offering, it could be a real game-changer. According to mutterings at WWDC, the Cupertino is plotting exactly that, but not on its own, and with some documentation for iOS 7 pertaining to a Game Controller having just popped up on the dev site, official physical gaming controller support is about to become a reality starting from iOS 7.
Apple has, for a good portion of the past ten or so years, been a company with a kind of stubbornness whenever it has come to re-adopting old technology and functionality. So forthright in its quest to move everybody along to the touch-based way of thinking, it would once have seemed unthinkable that Apple would decide to give some gamers what they so crave, in bringing in official support for gaming controller.
However, since the introduction of the iPad mini – a device which again, was something the Cupertino company was staunchly against not so long ago – we’ve seen a more open-minded Apple. Perhaps this is down, in part, to CEO Tim Cook; seen as a calmer, emollient figure versus his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs. Cook even said recently at D11 that his company could open up the iOS API to offer more control to developers, and although this was a tentative statement (he did add that such a situation would only occur if the user experience wasn’t jeopardized in any way), Apple definitely seems to be finding its liberal side.
Coming back to the new documentation, two separate controllers have been detailed; one of which shows a standalone joypad with analog sticks, and another which would theoretically be attached to an iPhone or iPod touch, with the display in between buttons. The documentation is a part of iOS 7, and yes, that means Cupertino’s latest mobile operating system is taking hardware gaming controllers very seriously.
Although the idea of a gaming controller is, in itself, not all that riveting, the prospect of Apple extending the Apple TV to bring gaming to the big screen certainly is. There has been a great deal of speculation suggesting the fruit company is on the cusp of ramping up its assault on the living room, and with the App Store being the most popular with gaming developers, an upgraded Apple TV, iOS game support and a few universal controllers would certainly give set-top box fans more than a little food for thought.
But still, at this time, and keeping things in perspective, it seems unlikely that Apple is going to take a plunge on its own. But instead, it’s seeking different manufacturers to come up with gaming controllers. But we’re surprised that Apple didn’t, at all, mention this during their opening keynote when iOS 7 was being shown off to the world for the first time.
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