back to article Fanbois to gamebois: Apple paperwork reveals iOS FUNPAD

Apple has been granted a patent in the US on a gaming controller pad for iOS-powered things. The iPhone giant's "novel" design describes a device with directional pads, buttons and speakers (that doesn't sound familiar at all.) Rather than include a display, the controller would have an open slot into which an iOS device …

  1. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Bottom pic/diagram Kinda reminiscent of a ds to me...

    Second screen maybe attached on a hinge which can be closed to protect both the screen of the 'docked' pad/phone and the second screen... that would look even more familiar.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impossible

    The gizmo has sharp corners instead of round ones. It will never work with iThings!

  3. bobbles31

    Awesome

    Only in this world would a company make a unique selling point of removing all the buttons and coming up with a sleek clean design......and then sell you the buttons separately.

    I haven't been this impressed since buying a cable for my wireless controller.

    1. Greg D

      Re: Awesome

      That made me spit coffee.

      *wipes screen*

    2. htq

      Re: Awesome

      Or using caffeinated water for your de-caf coffee.

  4. Sealand

    Nice.

    Let's call it a 'dock'.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Then start suing everyone else who uses the word 'dock' for stealing our idea!!!

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        They should call it a WiiPhone U dock.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      I remember similar joystick housings for PCs back when I was a kid, you'd lay the "joystick" over your computer and it would activate keys underneath.

  5. RAMChYLD

    Another prior art work

    Logitech did release something like that for the iPhone two years ago.

    http://gaming.logitech.com/en-my/product/powershell-controller-and-battery

    One wonders why Logitech hasn't sued Apple for trying to claim ownership of their idea yet.

    Or if Nintendo should sue because Apple copied the SNES "XABY" button layout.

    On the side note, iOS8.1 game controller support is horribly buggy. I have a SteelSeries Stratus and the controller lags and sometimes repeats button presses. Did a quick search and noted that I'm not the only one with the issue. Also, my bluetooth keyboard exhibits the same glitches, including lag, repeat button presses, and even frequent disconnect...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Another prior art work

      From the article

      The patent has been pending for six years and

      Unless Logitech can show that their solution is totally different OR has a prior date to this application then there is nothing for them to gain from starting a case against Apple.

      1. RAMChYLD

        Re: Another prior art work

        > Unless Logitech can show that their solution is totally different OR has a prior

        > date to this application then there is nothing for them to gain from starting

        > a case against Apple.

        Ah, I miss that part. Must be the lack of coffee and the fact that I'm fighting against the urge for an afternoon siesta. Still, that means Apple have a strong case to have the patent granted- by licensing out the designs before the patent was even granted.

        > I wonder how many sizes it will come in, and will we have to buy a new one

        > for each new generation of iThing.

        I suspect only iPhone/iPod and iPhone Plus - given how Apple is also pushing a more traditional gamepad design (ie said SteelSeries Stratus) for the Apple TV and iPad. And well, I suspect the Bluetooth ones will at least last across several generations.

      2. Jos V

        Re: Another prior art work

        Logitech: patent D720,342

        "Input accessory for a mobile phone"

        Filed: October 1, 2013

        Granted: December 30, 2014

        The idea is basically the same, but as for the Apple patent:

        "Accessory for playing games with a portable electronic device "

        Filed: September 30, 2008

        Granted: January 27, 2015

        Not sure how this will pan out...

    2. Otto is a bear.

      Re: Another prior art work

      Well, at least you can look forward to those bugs being fixed in time for the iController. Or perhaps a completely new interface compatible only with the iBeast.

      I wonder how many sizes it will come in, and will we have to buy a new one for each new generation of iThing.

      Personally I don't care being a rebel who uses his iPhone, and you won't believe this, as a phone first and PDA second.

    3. Dylbot

      Re: Another prior art work

      Ah, the Powershell. Got one for £4 in an Amazon lightning deal and I still feel like I paid too much for it.

  6. Piro

    Looks like a POP Station.

    Or any one of a number of very cheap handheld games, where you replace the screen, which in turn changes the game.

    1. John Bailey

      Re: Looks like a POP Station.

      Ohh.. that would be too delicious.. Pound shop tat having prior art on the fruitarian new gizmo that nobody wanted until now.

    2. Jedit

      "you replace the screen, which in turn changes the game"

      Lawsuit from Vectrex coming soon, then?

      Joking aside, the first thing I thought of when I saw this was that iPad Arcade thing - the one where you dock the iPad in a mini arcade cabinet that has joystick and fire buttons for playing the games. It's exactly what this device is, just in a different shape.

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    In context:

    Apple made the filing in the same year as the first iPhone was released. I can't be the only one who has wondered before why Apple haven't made an iOs gamepad - or released a reference design for the 3rd party peripheral manufacturers.

    The answer probably is that Apple have been able to sell plenty of iPhones without such a gamepad.

    Apple historically have been a little wary of the games market too - in the Mac days they feared that games would negatively affect how people saw their computers.

    The Android hardware market is a bit more fragmented ( witness the inability of Android phone vendors to settle on a standard for wired remote control headsets, or music/charge docks) and no big player (Google?) took a lead on gamepads.

    Sony made a decision not to release a proper 'Playstation Phone', probably because it would cannibalise sales of their dedicated PSP machines. Sony then tried the 'Playstation Mobile' initiative - but only a small number of phones (even fewer non-Sony phones) were supported - so it probably didn't gain enough critical mass of users and developers to continue. They seem to have a change of heart (part of the 'One Sony' strategy), and have made their recent phones and tablets work with Dualshock 3 controllers 'out of the box' - and other vendors' phones can be made to work with them too.

    Ever more Android phones now support USB OTG, which is a straightforward if inelegant way of adding a gamepad to a phone. Not all games support gamepads, but the classic console emulators for Android mostly do.

    1. BillGallop

      Re: In context:

      >>I can't be the only one who has wondered before why Apple haven't made an iOs gamepad - or released a reference design for the 3rd party peripheral manufacturers.

      They have, and it is that reference design that the Logitech, Moga and others are based on

      https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/ServicesDiscovery/Conceptual/GameControllerPG/Introduction/Introduction.html

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: In context:

        Cheers!

        For what its worth, I was puzzled by the absence of an Apple reference design before the 2013 WWDC introduction of 'Made For i[device]' game controller support.

        (One of my posts from 2012: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1610886 )

  8. JamesPond
    Childcatcher

    Arcadie

    Wifie bought one of these for me for Christmas as a bit of fun, It's actually quite good but not as good as the real thing of course!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wiki-CE4280-Arcadie-for-Iphone/dp/B00800WIK2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422452274&sr=8-1&keywords=arcadie

  9. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Anyone remember...

    ... those clip-on plastic joysticks for playing Snake on classic Nokia phones?

    http://www.fonefunshop.co.uk/joysticks/joystick.htm

    (Sold out, I'm afraid :))

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perspective drawing

    We've heard of it.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Perspective drawing

      Perspective is not used in technical drawings. Yeah, these images submitted to the patent office are merely illustrations, but many engineers retain an aversion to the unnecessary use of perspective.

  11. Fluffy Bunny
    Coat

    Apple wrote the playbook on patenting the bleedin obvious.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019