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iPhone Home Button That Transforms Into Gaming Joystick Shown in Apple Patent Application

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published an Apple patent application revealing the company's interest in an iPhone or iPad home button that transitions form its normal functionality into a small joystick for gaming (via Patently Apple).

The "multi-function input device" would serve its normal home button functions, ostensibily with Touch ID and all other current features, but with a simple pressure click would pop up and transform into a slightly elevated thumb joystick.

Home button mode (left) and joystick mode (right)
A simple push of the elevated home button back into a flush position with the body of the iPhone would return it to its original state when done gaming. Diagrams included in the application show a very low-profile joystick , allowing for some level of physical control while being much smaller than traditional game controller joysticks in order to fit into the thin bodies of iOS devices.

Apple's claims within the patent application note some gamers' hesitancy to play seriously on a smartphone due to the entire set of controls resting on the screen, with their fingers blocking a significant portion of the game's content. The company thinks a built-in solution in form of this new home button could be an acceptable option for those unable or unwilling to carry additional gaming accessories.

As noted by Patently Apple, the patent, with inventor credit going to Colin Ely and Fletcher Rothkopf, was originally filed by the company in the summer of 2013. Though it's highly unlikely this particular technology will show up on the company's next iPhone, presumably launching later this year, like most patents it's still interesting to see what possibilities Apple has considered in the past and the possible directions it may choose to go in the future.

Article Link: iPhone Home Button That Transforms Into Gaming Joystick Shown in Apple Patent Application
 

Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
3,558
1,103
UK
As if the home button doesn't wear out as is. With this it'll be worse... and will apple cover as they'll put it , over use of home button?
 
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128keaton

macrumors 68020
Jan 13, 2013
2,029
413
Very interesting. I could see this as being something for people with disabilities. Using the joystick and selecting apps while the phone read them out would be super helpful.
 
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I8P'CS

Suspended
Jul 29, 2010
355
31
Joystick to play angry birds, candy crush? Ok then. Besides, some would say "the screens to small to play any real game"
 
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whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,580
667
Cork, Ireland.
That's very clever.. but as above I'd be wary of breaking / wear and tear / dirt and grit getting in under the button and jamming it (as happened with many existing iPhone home buttons). If they can make it durable, and seal it against anything getting in there, I'm all for it!
 
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TWSS37

macrumors 65816
Feb 4, 2011
1,107
232
This would be like playing games with the nub mouse in the middle of my laptop. Pass.
 
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NachoGrande

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2010
953
1,591
Imagine all of the pocket lint that would be trapped under that thing... no thanks... cool idea though.
 
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bacaramac

macrumors 65816
Dec 29, 2007
1,414
78
Why does this seem so logical? I guess if they find a way to really make this hold up it would be pretty awesome.
 
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DaveN

macrumors 6502a
May 1, 2010
660
331
Here comes buttongate where the extended button snags on something and either wrecks the button or what it snags on. /s
 
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JVossos

macrumors newbie
Dec 22, 2014
3
0
More distraction

I love apple products ... they are useful and of course entertaining, but this move looks almost desperate ... trying to find a new reason to flog the wares. I think a quality product that stays up to date is enough. This form of cheap gadgetry makes me NOT want to buy an iPhone. I don't want to own a gaming device, I want to own a phone with powerful features ... which it already has.

This would be like buying a new car with huge spoiler on the back end or a big scoop on the hood .... for kids ... so ... maybe Apple should put out a model called the 'iMatura' ... for those who cannot grow up and keep a more serious model for the rest of us.:)
 
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MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
Iphone is a quality device, no need to cheapen it with gimmicks like this. I suspect Apple has no intention ever of implementing it, they are just blocking others with a patent. Meh
 
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nws0291

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2006
588
161
Just think of all the mountain dew and doritos that will get stuck down in there
 
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sza

Suspended
Dec 21, 2010
477
722
Sumsung: hmm, we can't copy it this time, since the button we designed is not round...:(
 
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