New in iOS 7: support for third party game controllers

iOS 7 beta SDK

As with any major Apple event, where numerous announcements are made, I feel like some of what was talked about yesterday flew under the radar. Specifically, there were several cool features in iOS 7 that didn’t get enough attention.

One of those features is support for third party gamepads. Physical controllers for iPhones and iPads have long been left to the ThinkGeeks and the Kickstarter projects, due to the lack of support. But that’s going to change with iOS 7…

Notice anything interesting in the image above of a slide from Apple’s WWDC keynote yesterday of new iOS 7 SDK features? MFi game controllers. MFi is Apple’s ‘Made for iOS’ program, which gives 3rd party accessory-makers access to its tech.

We don’t have many details about the newfound gamepad support, but the folks over at TouchArcade point to a vague guide that Apple posted to its developer site yesterday that has basic guidelines on how game controllers should be used.

gamepad ios 7 gamepad ios 7 2

The one on the left looks like your typical iPhone game controller, with a large opening in the center that allows you to view your handset’s display. And the one on the right is obviously more of your standard, standalone-type gamepad.

TouchArcade is saying that they’re hearing that accessory makers will have one common interface to code to, so game developers can quickly and easily add support. The site even mentions that there may be prototype controllers floating around WWDC.

The implications here are enormous. Imagine firms like Logitech and Belkin getting into the iOS controller space. And imagine those controllers being compatible with every major iOS game. Now imagine what all of this could mean for the Apple TV.

Stay tuned.