Apple is Showing Strong Interest in Developing their own set of Game Controllers, as a Second Major Patent has been Discovered
On March 31, Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple invents a variety of future Game Controllers to be magnetically attached to an iDevice & include smart foldable carrying cases." Today Patently Apple discovered that Apple filed for another game controller patent, but this time in Europe that substantially differs from their U.S. filing.
The first style covered pertains to attachable game controller handles for iPhone and iPad as presented in patent FIGS. 6A, 6B, 6F, 6J below.
A second style of game controller relates to an iPhone gaming folio. Here Apple shares a number of concepts presented below that their engineering team have worked on. The part of the folio that will sit opposite to the iPhone display for game content, could actually be a full or partial secondary display that could provide users with messages about the game, like your gaming character is low in health, or that the user is receiving a text, email of FaceTime call from friends, family or business associates. It could also be used to accept other players wanting to join a multiplayer game.
Apple's third game controller style presented below conveys a more traditional style design, though keep in mind that this isn't a design patent, so it's not what the design could likely end up looking like. It's just a general concept with several twists in comparison to those on the market today.
For instance, the controller would work with Apple TV and offer a slidable switch control allowing the user to have it in game mode, in phone mode, in messaging mode. The slidable switch control would prove it's for an Apple game controller and not a feature to add to an Xbox controller.
In Apple's patent FIG. 12E above Apple notes that the display's UI is for a game. On Apple TV. In FIG. 14J, the display's UI is shown to be used for "an application" other than a game such as email, FaceTime etc. In FIG. 14K we're able to see a split screen application.
Apple's associated 266-page patent filing PDF can provide the curious with a lot more detail. Apple's Euro filing was made public on March 31, 2022 under number WO2022067344.
With two massive game controller accessory patents being made public on the same day would strongly indicate that this is a major accessory project. Whether Apple will license their patents to third-party developers or introduce it as an Apple branded accessory is unknown at this time. However, due to the complexity of some of the features, it would strongly suggest that Apple would want to have tight control over the features and software options out the gate in the future. Though as always, only time will tell.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.