Apple By Jan. 21, 2015 9:30 am
Apple patents a pop-up iPhone joystick | Apple | Geek.com

Smartphones have clearly opened up gaming to millions more people in recent years, but they have done so at the cost of control. Every game released on mobile app stores has either had to employ workarounds/simplifications or compromise its control system in order to function, because all you’ve got is a flat surface that reacts to touch.

There is no easy fix to this problem, with the best right now being the purchase of a controller that wirelessly links up with your phone or tablet. Even then, not all games are compatible. There’s the future promise of a touchscreen that can actually form buttons on its surface, but for now that’s just a work in progress. However, Apple may present its own solution in the form of a joystick integrated into a future iPhone.

Apple’s design rules mean adding a joystick to an iPhone similar to that found on a PS Vita or 3DS would be rejected immediately. But a joystick that sits flat and pops up out of the case when required? That could work, and Apple has gone so far as to patent the idea.

Apple patents a pop-up iPhone joystick | Apple | Geek.com

As you can see in the images above, the joystick would sit underneath the Home button on the iPhone (and probably the iPad, too). Pushing down on the button makes it pop-up, and pushing down again hides it back inside the case all thanks to a hidden spring. The joystick (or thumbstick) only raises up a few millimeters, but that’s enough to allow for 360-degree movement input.

Will this idea ever make it into an actual iPhone? I highly doubt it. The Home button has already morphed into a fingerprint reader, and a spring would inevitably mean less space inside the phone for other components and possibly a thicker phone required to accommodate it. Apple just wouldn’t consider messing with its design that much just to make games a little easier to control.

If Apple does decide to focus more on game input, then they’d probably take the opportunity to sell us yet another device. An official iController, perhaps?

Now read: iPhone 6S to feature Apple Watch’s Force Touch display and 2GB of RAM

Apple patents a pop-up iPhone joystick | Apple | Geek.com

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