Apple Working On Multipurpose Separable Game Controller
Apple Events | Source: Apple
Apple was recently awarded a patent that describes an innovative controller capable of controlling various electronic devices or modes, including media players and video game consoles.
The controller can be held and operated in two orientations, with features selectively hidden or exposed depending on the mode.
It consists of two primary segments, front and rear, with buttons, sensors, communication interfaces, and attachment elements for easy detachment.
The design allows for seamless transitions between modes and the opportunity for cooperative gameplay, sharing similarities with the Nintendo Joy-Con controller.
Apple has recently published a patent under the title “Multipurpose controller device,” filed back in August 2020 under the name of Apple Inc. The patent outlines an innovative controller device capable of controlling various electronic devices or modes. The publication took place last week, illuminating Apple’s venture into the video game industry and uncovering the company’s research into controller technology with versatile capabilities.
“Controller devices can provide a user with multiple modes of operation. For example, the user can hold and operate the controller device in a first orientation for control of a first device and/or first mode of a device (e.g., media player), and the user can hold and operate the controller device in a second orientation for control of a second device and/or second mode of a device (e.g., gaming device),” reads the patent’s abstract.
Features can be selectively stowed and deployed to facilitate user operation in the different modes. By further example, a controller device can be separated into segments to allow multiple users to hold and provide inputs with corresponding segments.”
The controller is designed to be held and operated in two different orientations: one for controlling media or content devices like a media player, and the other for controlling video game devices such as a video game console. To make it adaptable for various uses, the controller has features that can be selectively hidden or exposed depending on the mode you want to use it in.
For instance, certain buttons or controls may be hidden when using the controller for gaming, but they can be revealed when you want to control a media player. Furthermore, it can be divided into segments, facilitating multiple players to hold and interact with the controller individually using their respective segments. This feature creates the opportunity for cooperative gameplay.
The patent emphasises the adaptability of the controller. In video game mode, for example, players can attach the rear segment to the front segment to create a fully functional video game controller. In media mode, they can detach the two segments to switch to a simpler remote control layout for their media players. The result is a seamless transition between modes, providing a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.
As per Apple’s claims, the controller consists of two primary segments — the front segment and the rear segment. The front segment has buttons and sensors on the top, middle, and bottom areas. It also has a communication interface and an attachment element. The rear segment also has buttons and sensors on the top, middle, and bottom areas, as well as a communication interface and an attachment element that can connect to the front segment.
Additionally, the top part of the controller extends into the middle area and has openings for buttons to come through. The top part can bend towards the front part while another portion remains fixed. The controller has touch sensors in both the top and bottom areas, with the bottom touch sensor being a different touch-sensitive part from the top one.
Furthermore, the top part of the controller is designed in a way that allows sound to reach a microphone inside the front segment. The controller is equipped with an input/output (I/O) device capable of sending commands to an external device, which could be a media player or video game console. These commands are based on the inputs detected by the force sensors or touch sensors integrated into the controller.
Both the attachment elements (one on the front segment and one on the rear segment) have magnets and electrical connectors to allow easy attachment and detachment. Additionally, the patent outlines the controller’s configuration with left and right segments, both containing buttons, sensors, communication interfaces, and attachment elements to facilitate a seamless connection between the two segments.
Although the patent doesn’t explicitly specify the controller’s exact application, it appears to share similarities with the functionality of the Nintendo Joy-Con controller used for the Nintendo Switch. Like the Nintendo Joy-Con, the proposed Apple controller showcases a detachable design, enabling multiple players to interact with each segment independently.
It is crucial to highlight that the current stage of this technology is only a patent and does not guarantee any development or implementation from Apple at this time. While the specific details regarding potential manufacturing partners and release dates remain undisclosed, one thing is certain; this patent is a significant leap forward in controller device technology, and its impact on the consumer electronics market is likely to be profound.
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