The Cupertino California company has updated its developer’s website with a brief guide illustrating what it has in mind for the future of iOS gaming peripherals on the heels of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and the subsequent seeding of iOS 7 beta. While the developer page is sparse on details, it does offer at least a pair of simple drawings demonstrating possible hardware controller designs suitable for use as part of the company’s MFi program.
Originally spotted by the Touch Arcade, the illustration shows two different controller styles. One appears to attach to an iPhone directly and includes light/right shoulder bumpers, a D-pad, and four action keys essentially turning the device into a rudimentary handheld console. The second embodiment is a standalone controller, with a dual-analog stick design with similarities to that of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii with the addition of a home button.
Although the drawings are just examples meant for third-party manufacturers and app developers, they are the first sign that Apple has given to showing any interest in creating a standard for iOS gaming hardware. There do happen to be existing products that can interact with iOS devices, either physically or via Bluetooth but Apple has yet to ratify a reference design which could be used to unify the control scheme of at least some of the thousands of games in the App Store.
In the past there have been rumors claiming that Apple was courting developers at the 2013 Game Developers Conference to sign off on a controller that was to be released sometime in the near future. The rumor was put down by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop but this new evidence seems like there might have been some truth to the original rumor after all. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of the findings.