It seems as if the upcoming GameBone accessory and the gaming needs of thousands of iPhone and IPod Touch users have finally inspired Apple Inc. to develop a similar product, one that will allow users to operate their favourite Apple phone or media player with a variety of button-based controls, and give them the edge they’ve always wanted.
Closer inspection however reveals that Apple filed this design, patent #0081505, in September 2008, and has been sitting on the concept for quite a while, way before GameBone detailed its own concept in June 2009.
Come on Apple, don’t forget the needs of gamers who have always wanted another interface on their iPhone or iPod Touch, one without the touchscreen limitation of having the controls on the screen itself, which gets in the way of the action. This could also help developers make games that wouldn’t have worked as well as desired on the touchscreen format. The shell/accessory would make the iPod Touch or iPhone act like a PSP or Nintendo DS.
The patent details various other functions and applications for the accessory, and it could contain force feedback actuators, accelerometer (for the iPod Touch), speakers, camera, microphone, even a mini keyboard, as well as infrared/Bluetooth wireless media controllers.