Logitech and Moga Work with Apple to Release MFi Game Controllers for iOS Devices

In what seems to be the clearest sign yet, Apple is serious about supporting dedicated third-party game controllers in iOS. The company held a 45-minute long session at WWDC on Tuesday, showing off app frameworks, hardware mock-ups and a set of preliminary best practice guidelines. During the session, which is available as a video to all registered Apple developers via the WWDC app, it was also announced that both Logitech and Moga are already collaborating on initial hardware designs for the game controller.

Apple offered two hardware examples, which were partially outlined in a report earlier this week with mock-ups showing a “form-fitting” design that wraps around an iPhone or iPad touch, as well as a standalone controller. Each model features a D-pad, dual analog sticks, four action buttons and shoulder bumpers/triggers. 

The form-fitting version allows users to not only interact via the controller but also the iOS device’s multitouch screen, a layout seen in Sony’s PS Vita console. The setup offloads controls previously located on-screen, which ultimately clears up valuable real estate on the devices’ 4-inch displays. As for the standalone model, Apple notes that it should not be attached to the device in any way, meaning the controller should support a wireless solution such as Bluetooth. The controls are nearly identical to the form-fitting version with one major exception: player indicator LEDs. This suggests multiplayer support in an implementation similar to that of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. 

Both controllers are said to feature a dedicated pause button, something that is built into many iOS games. Another thing to note are pressure-sensitive buttons, non-drifting D-pads and thumb sticks with no dead zones, and fast report rates for all actuators. As Apple touted the benefits of having a standardized piece of equipment and talked about what specifically that meant for controlling an iOS game, it made clear that such a device should not be a requirement. The company is however looking to help app developers deploy game-controller ready titles in its MFi initiative. Many of the presenters mentioned that Apple would be pushing to have the device specifications and accompanying APIs ready for launch this fall in iOS 7. 


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