In the last three weeks, there have been two Apple gaming controller patents with a wide variety of styles that could be in-the-works (01 and 02). Today, a third patent on a gaming controller was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple's granted game controller patent focuses on the "thumbstick user input" that is shown in our cover graphic. Apple notes that a thumbstick user input device may include a housing and a shaft carried by the housing. The shaft may have an upper end extending outwardly beyond the housing for manipulation by a user's thumb and a lower end within the housing.
The thumbstick user input device may also include a plurality of sensors carried by the housing to sense movement of the shaft, and a first contact member within the housing. The thumbstick user input device may also include a spring coupled between the first contact member and the shaft to urge the first contact member and the shaft apart, and a motor carried at a bottom of the housing and having a rotatable output extending upwardly therefrom.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of a game controller including a thumbstick user input device; FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of the internals of a thumbstick user input device; FIG. 6a is a schematic diagram of a portion of a thumbstick user input device including a removable thumb contact pad.
Further to FIG. 2, Apple notes that sensors (#41a, 41b) are carried by the housing (#31) to sense movement of the shaft (#32). The sensors may be position sensors, for example, to sense a position or relative motion of the shaft. There may be any number of sensors.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,298,611. This is a utility patent and not a design patent, so Apple's actual gaming controller won't necessarily look like the image they chose to use in their patent figure which is just to convey a concept.