Apple seems to think buttons don't matter when it comes playing games on the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. But there's an intriguing hint that that may be about to change.
In a review of the just-released New iPad, tech enthusiast site AnandTech casually mentions an "internal Apple project to bring a physical controller to market". The review goes on to say that such an accessory may never actually come out, though.
Like Microsoft, Sony and other huge tech companies, Apple probably commissions lots of internal development initiatives that the public never learns about. A gamepad made by Apple would likely work better than any of the third-party offerings currently out there.
But some of the gaming experiences on iOS devices — especially ones where you have to peek through your own damn hands — practically cry out for good, old-fashioned physical inputs. And if the "iPad + streaming + Apple TV" combo really represents Apple's recipe for a living-room game console, a gamepad would be a welcome addition.
However, bringing an Apple gamepad to retail would also undermine the touchscreen-centric, less-is-more message that Apple's been touting since the explosion of gaming on its App Store.