Hot on the heels of Apple's home button with joystick mode patent comes another gaming-related concept. The company has been awarded a patent titled "Accessory for playing games with a portable electronic device," which describes several gaming hardware configurations.
The basic idea revolves around an external accessory that would add physical buttons, joysticks and d-pads to mobile gaming without obscuring the iPhone display. The iOS device would slide or snap into place, filling a recess at the center of the accessory to make for more comfortable gaming. While this may look remarkably familiar, the patent was filed in 2008, well before the days of MFi controllers.
Other embodiments show gaming accessories that would accept two mobile devices, or include a built-in secondary display. Microphones, speakers, cameras, vibration feedback and even keyboards are shown in various accessory designs. Apple mentions the ability to connect multiple devices wirelessly, allowing for multiplayer gaming and connecting to online titles. Such a gaming accessory could also include storage for user profiles or game information.It remains to be seen if Apple will develop its own iPhone gaming accessory. The third-party market of iPhone gaming controllers has blossomed since the launch of the MFi controller program and iOS 7. As pointed out by AppleInsider, similar designs such as the Moga Ace are nearly identical to Apple's gaming accessory patent.