That Apple is toying with a bunch of varied gaming controller concepts is anything but unknown. Two years ago, an interesting Apple patent detailing an accessory for playing games with portable devices surfaced in the United States Patents & Trademark Office’s database.

It was originally filed back in September of 2008, meaning the company had likely begun researching the invention ahead of the original iPhone debut five years ago. The patent outlines a few exciting gaming accessories for portable devices, such as a receptacle system of sorts that could let your iPod be inserted to play games.

Another highlight worth mentioning is a gaming controller featuring cameras, motion sensing, a dual-display configuration and physical buttons on the back coupling a multitouch surface on the front.

And now, AnandTech drops a little nugget with claims that yes, Apple is in fact working on a gaming controller for iPads and other iOS devices…

Note: the above image represents ThinkGeek’s iCade 8-Bitty gaming accessory for the iPad and is only used for illustrative purposes.

Now, another confirmation of Apple’s gaming efforts arrives courtesy of AnandTech.

The publication slipped in the following line in its exhaustive iPad 3 review from last week:

I know of an internal Apple project to bring a physical controller to market, but whether or not it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen.

Given their expertise and credibility, there’s no reason to doubt authors Vivek Gowri and Anand Lal Shimpiwho. Plus, the aforementioned patent proves that – if anything – Apple is at least theorizing on how to take iOS gaming to the next level.

While suggesting the new iPad may lack the oomph to drive native Retina games at acceptable frame rates, the authors “feel like the controller problem must be addressed”.

Another reason for a physical, Apple-branded controller for iOS gaming? Android, which a year ago brought out basic support for various gaming peripherals hosted over an USB port or wirelessly, via Bluetooth.

A physical controller would tie in nicely with Apple’s set-top box dubbed the Apple TV which helps wirelessly beam whatever is displayed on your iOS device to a TV set, though with a slight (but noticeable) lag.

‘Games’ is the most profitable App Store category and Apple’s a major player in the gaming space. According to Flurry Analytics, Apple as of last year held an estimated 58 percent of U.S.-based game software revenue, a trifold increase compared to 2009. Plus, they’re hiring top talent in this space.

When you think of it, Apple really does not need to put out a dedicated gaming console.

I believe AirPlay technology coupled with that rumored HD TV set with the shiny Apple logo on it and the company’s comprehensive lineup of mobile products eventually hold the keys to conquering your living room.

And with both Sony and Nintendo bleeding money due to strong sales of iOS games, all that Apple really needs is an intelligent gaming controller with both physical and touch-based input.

Can you see the company throwing its weight behind a dedicated gaming peripheral for iOS gadgets?

Does it even make sense?

Chime in with your thoughts down in the comments.

  • Dan

    If the controller is compatible with most games (past and present), I would definately get it. I’d be willing to pay up to 50$.

    For RPG games (GTA3, Bard’s Tale, Final Fantasy 3, to name a few), it would really be useful.

    • Anonymous

      I concur, good point.

  • who seriously games on their iDevice

    • Dan

      Apple as of last year held an estimated 58 percent of U.S.-based game software revenue.

      So I would say a lot of people.

      I like to play games on my device, just not that often, but still

    • Anonymous

      I do. Most nights. I still play most games on my dedicated gaming PC, but there are some brilliant strategy titles and other fun casual games for iOS that are good for kicking back and relaxing with, when you’re not in the mood for dedicated PC/Console gaming.

      My current game of choice is “Kingdom Rush”. Most fun Tower Defense game I’ve played.

    • Tom

      I would game on it more if the controls were easier. I loved GTA3 back in the day. The only reason that I haven’t been playing that much is because the controls suck. The onscreen joystick is pretty difficult to use. I would love a plug in controller.

      Like Dan, I would pay around $50 for it.

  • Anonymous

    I rarely ever play games on my iOS games but if I had a simple controller I’m sure I would pick it up more.

  • Looks like the post-PC era is becoming the pre-pc era again. Don’t we all think that touch screen tablets are the future of computing, and gaming?(note the sarcasm)

  • Anonymous

    I wpuld welcome another option (the controller) when gaming. Why not?

  • Anonymous

    “Given their expertise and credibility, there’s no reason to doubt authors Vivek Gowri and Anand Lal Shimpiwho”

    I think you’ll find his name is “Anand Lal Shimpi”. Leave it to others to ask “who”? 😉

  • Anonymous

    I would certainly by this. Add this to an apple tv setup(AirPlay mirroring) and you have yourself a cheap and cheerful console which could easily rival a wii and the other handhelds. And with mainstream gaming titles(tiger woods,FIFA etc) on iOS costing a fraction of there console counterparts it’s easy to see the app-eal ha ha

  • my personal opinion about this is:

    this is the controller for Apple’s Home Console….the iPlay!
    and with the iPlay…ANY iOS device could be used as a Controller!!

  • Anonymous

    Apple have 2 choices either create there own game controller or just release a universal API that devs can implement into there titles and then let the accessory company’s make the controller. I personally would rather see an apple branded control pad as you know they will get it right and won’t rush anything to market.