Apple's products can get as shiny and popular as they want, but so long as they take the button-less, touch-screen iPhone design route, they'll have a problem when it comes to games: rubbish controls.
A patent application filed by Apple in 2008, but made public only a few day days ago, shows that the company is at least somewhat aware of this fact. It's for an input cradle, a device that an iPhone (or an iPad, as they would come in different sizes) could be placed into that provides the Apple product with the thing it needs most for gaming: buttons.
It's a strap-on control pad, in other words, turning the otherwise touch-screen device into a very expensive Game Boy. While games would benefit most from the peripheral, they wouldn't be the sole force behind such a contraption, as Apple say it could also be used to increase an iPhone's usefulness as, say, a remote control.
What a great idea, Apple! Pity somebody else already thought of it. The iControlPad does exactly what Apple's patent describes, only it's already out there. Then again, the name "iPad" was already taken before Apple wanted it too, by Fujitsu, and that didn't seem to make a lick of difference.