One of the most recent Apple patents could indicate a groundbreaking shift in the way that we play smartphone gaming. They have just taken out exclusive rights for what is called a ‘multi-function input device’. It would essentially create a pop-up home button for future iPhones that would function as a small joystick. This would not only change the way that we play smartphone games forever but would also open up the opportunity for more games to reach this platform.
One of the major complaints from the gaming community about smartphones is that they aren’t able to accommodate the kind of complex gaming that consoles can. That there is only so far that a touchscreen can take a game. Apple’s potential smartphone joystick would be able to fix this issue. You would be able to switch between the standard home button and a joystick by flipping up the button. It would make your smartphone more akin to a Nintendo 3DS or a Playstation Vita handheld console.
Apple has, however, recognised that it could cause some potential problems. The patent explains that it could not only be an issue for people who own cases or protective covers as it would get in the way. Similarly, they explain that there are concerns about a pop-up button as it would expose some of the phone’s hardware, leading to a heightened risk of damage.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the joystick is going to be coming to the next generation of iPhone. There have been plenty of times that the tech giant has patented things in the past and never gone on to use them.