The rumored Apple-branded gaming joypad

PocketGamer wrote this today:

Long rumoured – and hoped for – GDC 2013 has finally provided confirmation that Apple will release its own dedicated game controller.


  • BOOM !

  • The beard has spoken.

  • PocketGamer: “no official word yet…” “Many things remain unknown…” “None of our contacts had seen or held the physical device…” “Neither are we sure when the pad will be released…”

    So – a complete non-story but watch how many other so-called Mac News Sites “report” this story.

  • def4

    Sigh. I hope a game controller SDK comes to iOS eventually.

  • tylernol

    no? They should. Apple TV + SDK + official controller == games in the living room.

    • Apple already sells a game controller. It’s called your iOS device.

      • quietstorms

        True, but there are problems with this. The iPhone or iPad are not very good at this for many kinds of games. The other is that, if you’re using an iPhone, you’re wasting precious battery life on your main communications device.

      • If an iPhone is such a great device for eyes-free interaction, why isn’t your car’s steering wheel a slick pane of glass? I would absolutely LOVE an Apple-branded game controller, but I believe 100% that it ain’t going to happen any time soon.

        • No one said the iPhone is a great device for eyes-free interaction. But it may be good enough for what Apple perceives casual gamers want. Remember, Apple has never and will likely never in the future go after hard core gamers.

          • Oh, they definitely may not. But Apple seemed to be genuinely surprised when iOS took off as a gaming platform. They openly admitted they had no idea what people would do with the iPod touch, and boom – they suddenly had the world’s most popular handheld game system on their hands. And they embraced it. Apple’s surprised a lot of people by doing things we never thought they’d do: Video iPod… Flash memory iPod… heck, Mac mini…

          • They couldn’t because hardcore gamers know better than to use anything apple for gaming.

          • Space Gorilla

            Good thing 99 percent of the gaming market is NOT hardcore gamers 🙂

          • Yea totally… the millions and millions of people playing XBOX, PS3, Wii U, and every handheld device are totally not hardcore gamers.

            What designates someone as a hardcore gamer? In my opinion, it’s someone who prefers an actual controller for emulators and games that offer more entertainment than swiping a screen playing Angry Birds.

            Even putting native controller support in iOS like Android and Windows Phone has would severely improve iOS!

            I have the iPhone 5 and the one reason I keep my Galaxy S3 is because of the MOGA Pro controller making gaming so much better than it is on iOS. A full console controller with analog sticks and analog triggers and it HOLDS the device and is rechargeable. The buttons even light up during night time use.

          • Space Gorilla

            You’re obviously bringing a bias to this discussion with a comment like “someone who prefers an actual controller for emulators and games that offer more entertainment than swiping a screen playing Angry Birds”. The reality is most people don’t care about the controller or the system, they just want to play fun games. The original Wii was derided by ‘hardcore gamers’, but it was a huge success because it made gaming easier. You should learn more about the games available on iOS, there’s some amazing stuff. I have four kids, three of them teenagers, and they do almost all their gaming on their iPads. They use our Wii once in a while, maybe a couple times a month.

            Hardcore gamers are akin to geeks or nerds in the computer world, their defining characteristic is that they care about the technical details that most people don’t care about. So you’re partly right when you say a hardcore gamer is someone who prefers an actual controller. Most people don’t think about that stuff (gasp!). My point stands, the hardcore gamer market is very small when compared with the ‘normal people who want to play games’ market.

          • Alexei Baboulevitch

            I wish they did. They could decimate the console market with a powerful Apple TV + gamepad. I’d love to see more hardcore games on my iOS devices, and it would be a dream platform to develop for compared to current consoles.

        • At what point does anyone say it’d be an iPhone-style controller?

      • I think the iPhone would suck as a controller for games that aren’t on the device. There is no tactile feedback. I also think this non story is BS.

        • it’d suck as a controller if your game sucks

        • lucascott

          But there are already companies making old school controllers that work with iOS games. So why is it needed for Apple to make one

        • I have to agree with Brad here. A flat smooth piece of glass provides no tactile feedback (unlike the lumps & bumps of a gamepad). This isn’t a huge deal with you’re staring at the iOS device, but when you’re looking at a TV while using your iOS device as a controller….

          • gjgustav

            True, but Apple is not in the business of making or facilitating games the rely on a tactile controller. Unless Apple feels they can greatly improve on the XBox/PS3/Wii gaming experience, they’re not interested in competing.

      • Alexei Baboulevitch

        Are you a gamer? I am. I’ve tried—desperately!—to get used to virtual controls, but they’re just an order of magnitude worse than real buttons. The right tools for the right job.

        • It doesn’t matter whether I am. It doesn’t even matter that you are. As I said, this isn’t going to be the direction Apple goes in. They will not be targeting hardcore gamers or folks who want an Xbox or a PS4.

          • Alexei Baboulevitch

            Well, a man can dream…

          • LOL Hard core gamers and game developers have been dreaming about it for years. Apple has shown little to no real interest in that part of gaming.

          • Trippie

            LOL. All Apple has to do is create an official iOS controller API (which would be extremely easy) and boom! They don’t have to do any of the other legwork except collect royalties on third party MFi controllers. Consoles smashed.

          • Trippie

            You are completely wrong. The cheapest iOS device is around $200, while an actual controller that would be better at the job could be $30. An Apple TV that can play console quality games would decimate the traditional consoles. If there will be an official controller SDK, it will not preclude physical controllers.

            Apple doesn’t need to target hardcore gamers. If they build a system that can handle hardcore games with real controllers, third parties will step up.

          • kibbles

            yup. API for the win. best of both worlds…

          • tylernol

            exactly. And apple tv could easily also pick up ports of older games designed for console controls.

        • lucascott

          So is this really any issue of the games, the device or your inability to adjust to a new system.

          Seems to me that with most self proclaimed ‘real gamers’ it’s the last. These heavy graphic console games are the last unique area of computing and the last bastion of the digital snobs. So you lay claim to being special and ‘better’ because you are this tiny unique group. As come hell or high water it’s your way or its stupid.

          • Alexei Baboulevitch

            I never said anything about graphics. In fact, I prefer simpler, stylized graphics, which iOS devices can render just fine. To me, it’s all about the interface. Try beating something like Super Meat Boy using virtual controls — it’s literally impossible!

      • kibbles

        touchscreens are lousy controllers. I like gaming on my device, but glass is no replacement for a comfortable, capable controller.

  • I was really excited. Seriously, why not? Is there anything bigger waiting for us?

  • Ah, that’s a bummer. I understand how using an iPhone or iPad as a controller could work, but would like something more like a traditional controller too.

    Nothing stopping 3rd parties, though.

  • Oh hell… I didn’t even need the always reliable “Dalrymple Nope” to tell me this story was bullshit.

  • Derrick F

    They should have. Mobile gaming is extremely limited to only have certain types of games being successful. Games that have “virtual” control sticks get annoying to play after 5-10 minutes. Also, like someone else pointed out, it could have a dual use with the Apple TV. Using the touch screen to control the game only works for certain types of games.

    • Derrick F

      I won’t be buying an iWatch, but I would have bought this…

  • bdkennedy11

    Apple would be STUPID to not come out with a controller when Sony and Microsoft are going to rule the holiday sales with their new consoles. And guess what? Most families aren’t going to buy a Playstation 4 AND an iPad.

    • Jay Martin

      The question is: will parents buy a game console that can do a few other things or a multi-purpose device that can play games? I guess time will tell…

      • Space Gorilla

        We have a Wii, which my four kids hardly ever use. They’re too busy playing games on their iPads. Consoles are over. Yes, yes, there will always be some small market for consoles, but as a mainstream game platform, iOS has already won.

    • HDSchaefer

      Apple doesn’t do things because others will rule unless they do. They do things where they can seriously disrupt a market with a superior product. I agree with Jim and Shawn.

  • dvdphn

    One of the only games that I think would work with an iOS device as a controller is TempleRun. Since you can look at the big screen, and merely swipe.

    • lucascott

      Temple Run games, Tiny Wings and all those knock offs, any racing game like Real Racing 3 that uses the gyro etc to steer, the continuous runners like Zombie Tsunami and Monster Run where you only have to tap/swipe to jump or fire

      There are many that do just fine with iOS controls

  • Hmm…. I think one of the main problems with the PocketGamer story was the conclusion that Apple talking to mobile developers about a game controller = Apple is building a game controller. If there is any truth to the original story, then we could simply be seeing Apple figuring out what would need to go into an iOS API for game controllers in general. It’s actually the API that is far more important than a specific piece of hardware, since such an API would allow multiple third parties to build different controller form factors for iOS mobile devices and the AppleTV, and would allow developers to support any and all such controllers easily in their games.

    Dalrymple may specifically be refuting the notion of Apple building their own dedicated controller hardware (although I’m sure they would sell millions of them if they did build one). As an iOS developer myself, I’m holding out hope that this doesn’t at all rule out a universal game controller API across iOS devices, hopefully coming in iOS7. That would tie in perfectly with games being made available on AppleTV and would be a boon to developers who want to make more traditional game experiences that don’t work as well with touchscreen inputs only.

  • lucascott

    Anyone with a clue about Apple’s style can see through this. There’s no point in asking for support if they don’t know the style of the controller.

    So Apple would contact say 6-10 folks, smuggle them into the MotherShip, make them sign away their souls and give them the scope. And say 3 of them would be chosen to be demo’d at the reveal.

    And remember ‘nope’ could mean they aren’t making one OR just that they didn’t go to GDC and talk about it

  • zoolman88

    yes i think they should as well as let people install games on the apple tv as well as stream via windows to apple tv

  • I’m kind of sad about this nope. I was hoping it was step one in taking the appleTV seriously. Oh well.


    Of course an Apple controller will definitely come to pass, this is beyond a doubt. Any Apple living room “tv” display would have no reason to even exist if it wasn’t the ultimate game console.

  • joecassara

    It’s a typo. They meant Amiga, not Apple. And 1983, not 2013.

  • iPadCary

    Thanks for the clarification, Jimbo!

    Jesus Malloik, I SO wanted this to be friggin’ true ….

  • iPad_Help

    A new game controller / remote will be an important part of the ATV SDK. Many have wondered what has taken so long to launch an App Store for Apple TV. They are waiting until all of the pieces are in place before they unveil anything.

    Expect for it to be official by June (maybe sooner).

  • I see this “Nope” turning into a “Yep” quite soon. It makes no sense for Apple not to. Add Apps to Apple TV (for anyone who doesn’t have an iOS device to mirror to their Apple TV) and BOOM! iOS games are awesome. Why constrict your platform by not making a controller?

    Brad Strickland is right, IMO. The iPhone and iPad are rubbish with games that have virtual controllers.

  • The rumor was there but finally apple is saying that they will launch their game controller soon!

  • Some thoughts on Jim’s cleverly-worded denial of this story and what it might mean:

  • Keith Andrew

    So, how’s that “nope” going now, eh?

  • Keith Andrew