Gamers complaining about the lack of buttons on the iPhone, iPod and iPad may see a solution in the near future through the help of a frame for the devices that will be packed with features, control pads and buttons.
IntoMobile discovered a gaming accessory patent made public yesterday on the U.S. Patent and Trademark site that shows that Apple is looking into creating a number of device frames that would feature an assortment of add-ons including a direction pad, buttons, a camera, speaker, internal rumble, motion sensing and even a very Nintendo DS-looking second screen.
The patent, first filed in 2008, but made public yesterday, explains that "while playing games can be fun on these portable electronic devices, it can also be somewhat awkward, particularly on a portable electronic device having a touchscreen."
Amen to that.
"The same screen used for viewing an avatar's activities is used to control the avatar," the patent explains. "This arrangement causes the user's fingers block the action. Thus, while these portable electronic devices include a highly efficient interface, when playing games it is often desirable to have a more specialised user interface. "
A solution for this problem, it seems, is to lock your device into a frame that includes the added functionality, making the svelte portable a bit chunkier, but far more gamer friendly.
Of course, this is just a patent and it could be that Apple is using it to prevent others from coming in and doing something for their device that either they want to do or don't want anyone to do. So don't hold your breath.