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[Update] WWDC 2013: iPhone and iPad will get Apple-licensed controllers later this year

Game on (Updated with controller concept images)

Product: iOS controllers | Manufacturer: Apple
iOS controllers iPhone, thumbnail 1
iOS 7 will feature an official game controller API, so third party manufacturers will be able to make their own iOS joypads.

Plus, Apple will force those manufacturers to go through a certification process, to ensure that all iOS controllers adhere to the exact same standards.

That's information gleaned from Apple's WWDC keynote, leaked data from Apple's developer backend, and a pair of Pocket Gamer sources.

So, if a company wants to provide a licensed iOS game pad, they must conform to a set of strict standards which cover elements like controller layout, analogue stick dead zone, and even button response time.

Firms can make two types of pad. There's a wrap around gadget that your iOS device slides into, turning your iPhone into an impromptu PS Vita. Or a standalone controller that hooks up wirelessly.

Don't touch me

What does this mean for iOS gamers?

Well, you no longer need to worry about which games will work with the controller you just bought. If it's one of these Apple licensed pads, it will work with every single game with controller support.

It's also handy for developers. App makers will no longer need to test and optimise their game on the iCade, the SteelSeries Free, and the like.

Because buttons, sticks, and layouts are universal, game creators just need to make it work on one pad.

We'll hear much more about iOS controllers throughout the year. According to our source, both Logitech and MOGA (who make Android controllers) will have game pads for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on shop shelves by the autumn.

Updated on June 12th, at 13:30: Here are Apple's concept images, showing the two controller layouts that manufacturers can choose from.

The images were uploaded by NeoGAF user numble, and Pocket Gamer has independently verified that these are legitimate pictures from Apple.

Apple controller

Note - there will also be an "extended" version of this controller with two analogue sticks and two more shoulder buttons.

Apple controller

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 12 June 2013
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Apr 2010
Post count:
jeffyg3 | 16:35 - 13 June 2013
Well then hopefully can make the HDMI adapter with games on the iPad and iPhone have no lag in the future. Then the game controller with an iPad or iPhone hooked up to HDMI would be awesome. Still, a $100 Apple TV running iOS games isn't such a bad idea at all
Dec 2008
Post count:
klouud | 16:19 - 12 June 2013
I still say we need to center around bluetooth and not Wifi. Needs to be iPhone/iPad/iPod = console, Apple TV is receiver for video/sound projection to Television, and controller connect to iPhone for player/user input. This is the best configuration for lag free play. I would totally purchase an Apple approved controller if things worked just like I described. Otherwise... why?
Apr 2010
Post count:
jeffyg3 | 13:43 - 12 June 2013
Hopefully this extends to the Apple TV. Would be awesome to play them on the Apple TV without lag. Apple would swear up the console gaming community with the awesome games on iOS.
May 2013
Post count:
Matthew Wilson | 13:33 - 12 June 2013
The top one looks uncomfortable, and the bottom one looks like the Wii Classic Controller.

It's nice they are finally getting on the boat of controller support.
Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 11:02 - 12 June 2013
Intriguing. I'd be very worried if I was someone like iCade right now, though. Will be a nervous wait to find out if their controllers work with Apple's standards.
Jun 2013
Post count:
mw1 | 10:08 - 12 June 2013
I'm excited for the prospects of gaming on iOS. I've long felt that only having touch screen and tilt sensors have severely limited the creativity of games on iOS - look how many copies of each type of game there are. There are probably >100 games that are just like candy crush, with subtle differences. Likewise for temple run, and any kind of hack/slash RPG like the Dungeon Hunter series. With official iOS controllers, perhaps we can look forward to deeper, better, longer (and probably more expensive) games on iOS.