As smartphone and tablet gaming continues to boom, there’s still that niggling feeling that touchscreen controls really aren’t ideal, and - somewhat surprisingly - no one has quite nailed the accessory thing just yet.
Apple has come up with a solution to our mobile gaming woes in the form of a Home button that doubles as a joystick. Amazing!
The Apple patent is shared over on – surprise, surprise – Patently Apple, which celebrates Apple’s “Spirit of Invention”.
In the iOS Home button joystick patent filing, Apple notes that using the touchscreen for gaming isn’t ideal, firstly because you’re almost invariably obscuring the action, and secondly because there’s no tactile feedback.
Apple also posits that adding a fixed controller to a phone is asking for trouble, since it wouldn’t sit flush with the device, not to mention looking kinda rubbish.
Imagine, then, being able to push down on the Home button and having a little joystick pop out. Perfect!
Apple writes: “when force is applied to the multi-function Home Button that exceeds the threshold (such as a force in excess of 1000 g), the multi-function input device may project such that it is positioned proud of the surface 101, thus switching the multi-function input device to the second mode - a gaming mode where the button acts as a joystick.”
Of course, filing a patent for something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going into production, and indeed the iOS Home button gaming joystick patent was originally filed back in Q3 2013.
Still, Apple has clearly considered it, and it’s something we’d love to see come to fruition. Fancy it?