Apple patents a game controller

In Apple's ever-increasing patent portfolio, it appears as though they have added one relating to a game controller. The patent was filed in March this year and it has been published today, it details a controller that looks pretty much the same as Sony's DualShock line of controllers used with the PlayStation consoles.

Game Revolution spotted the patent that shows a "schematic of a video game controller for the standalone media player of FIG. 4 or a video game system" - FIG.4 being an Apple TV. Despite the above image showing a fixed cord, after digging deeper into the incredibly long patent application it seems like Apple wants to connect this controller using wireless technologies, including what looks to be NFC for pairing.

Of course as NFC is mentioned visually in many products such as the iPhone, Mac, Apple TV and the controller itself, it seems like Apple is prepared to only support this device in future hardware revisions of these products. Not only that, who knows if this device will ever actually make it to the market, as not everything that is patented does.

However it does show that Apple is gearing up in some way to push their products as more gaming-centric than before, and as GR mentions the Apple TV could easily become a gaming console in a future upgrade as it has hardware very similar to the iPhone/iPad. We can't see Apple going with the exact design used in the patent documents because they will almost certainly be sued immediately by Sony, but a physical controller from the company would greatly enhance the gaming capabilities of their devices.

Via: Game Revolution
Source: Patent PDF | Thanks for the tip soniqstylz, via the forums!

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34 Comments

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Gaming with a keyboard and mouse is lame and awkward. It's the widest, largest and bulkiest gaming peripheral set you'll most likely ever use for your hands..

Bring on the gaming controllers!

Hang on... NFC has a range of less than 0.2m and a data transfer range of like 420ish kbit/s. What the hell use is that going to be to anyone for game controller usage?

FloatingFatMan said,
Hang on... NFC has a range of less than 0.2m and a data transfer range of like 420ish kbit/s. What the hell use is that going to be to anyone for game controller usage?
It's Apple. Waive it over your wallet and it magically becomes lighter.

dr_crabman said,
The headline is wrong. Like 100%. They are NOT patenting a controller, please change it so people don't get confused.

Or maybe if we actually encouraged reading here instead of looking at the article name and picture, and assuming...

lol, wtf am I talking about, I should know better than to expect that!

dead.cell said,

Or maybe if we actually encouraged reading here instead of looking at the article name and picture, and assuming...

lol, wtf am I talking about, I should know better than to expect that!

So they're patenting pre-existing wireless technology then. Yet again it's still BS. No amount of reading will make this patent any less of a pile of crap than it already is.

Except they didn't patent the control design.. they are patenting an interaction between a controller and their mobile/appletv devices.

The actual controller image is just a generic one used in the patent for demonstration.

Maybe everyone should actually read, rather than looking at the image and raging..

No, they're adding different ways of quickly pairing a game controller to a device, which is what the patent is about. The graphic is a generic games controller.

I should have probably mentioned in my original comment that I understand what the patent is for, I was making an observational joke about Apple's track record with regards to their overly-generic patents as well as the common usage of "innovation" when looking at Apple.

So what did they actually apply for a patent for? A Playstation controller rip off that can pair NFC instead of bluetooth?

Considering what Apple has sued Samsung for i don't see how they expect Sony to do nothing, or except to get a patent for something that's existed for many years.

No I don't expect Sony to do anything because the patent is for functionality, not design. The illustration is probably a generic game controller graphic.

Edited by virtorio, Jul 27 2012, 7:53am :

virtorio said,
No I don't expect Sony to do anything because the patent is for functionality, not design. The illustration is probably a generic game controller graphic.
What functionality? The ability for a wireless device to *gasp* control something?!

Very interesting. I wish I had some sort of wireless device to control my TV, PS3, home theater, computer, lights, lock/unlock my car, and start my car.

Oh wait...

Xerax said,
How can they patent a PS2 controller?

I don't think they are patenting the design (for once), but instead the functionality that it can be used with computers, phones, media players, etc.

Scorpus said,

I don't think they are patenting the design (for once), but instead the functionality that it can be used with computers, phones, media players, etc.

So can the PS3 joystick.. It can be used with Android, Windows, OSX, PS3, Linux or any other computer.

MindTrickz said,

So can the PS3 joystick.. It can be used with Android, Windows, OSX, PS3, Linux or any other computer.

The patent may be stupid, haven't looked into it further, but the main point is that it's not about the controller itself.

MindTrickz said,

So can the PS3 joystick.. It can be used with Android, Windows, OSX, PS3, Linux or any other computer.

that's why they're patenting it... so they can sue all the companies that 'copy'!