In iOS 7, Apple has designed a bunch of specifications to enable accessory makers to deploy controllers with consistent sets of elements that both players and game designers work with.
And at least one such accessory maker is already prototyping some hardware to turn iPhones and iPod touches into full-fledged gaming consoles that rival Sony’s PlayStation Vita and Nintendo’s DS.
Via Kotaku comes word that Logitech has worked up a game controller for Apple’s iDevices that takes advantage of the new third-party controller support in iOS 7.
The hardware is pictured above (click to enlarge). The gaming site vows for its authenticity, even though that D-pad is as strange as a D-pad can get (no directional buttons).
The controller appears to be a G-series product in Logitech’s lineup, and we have reason to believe it’s a prototype (i.e. not the finalized product).
With the launch of iOS 7, Apple has opened up documentation for Game Controllers. Accessible only to registered developers, the Game Controller Programming Guide states, “Game controllers provide new ways for players to control your game.”
“Apple has designed specifications for hardware controllers to ensure that all of the controllers have consistent sets of control elements that both players and game designers can rely on,” Apple adds.
The Cupertino giant includes graphics with the documentation, including a game controller that takes cues from the Nintendo DS, and one that borrows design elements from the old SNES Controller, as well as from the gamepad that ships with the Nintendo Wii.
According to the documentation, the new Game Controller framework added in iOS 7 and OS X v10.9 makes it easy for the two operating systems “to find controllers connected to a Mac or iOS device.”
“Once discovered, your game reads control inputs as part of its normal gameplay,” Apple promises.
Three kinds of controllers are currently supported, including the “standard form-fitting controller,” which is exactly what Logitech has done with the hardware displayed above.
“An iOS device sits inside the controller and the player can access both the iOS device’s screen and the controller elements,” reads the description from Apple.
The other two controller types are “extended form-fitting” and “extended wireless.”