updated 12:20 pm EDT, Mon April 2, 2012
Project may or may not reach public
An "internal Apple project" currently exists to produce a physical game controller for iOS devices, an Anandtech iPad review claims. No other details are mentioned. The site suggests, though, that it's unclear whether or not the peripheral will actually reach the market.
Precision is a recurring problem with games on iOS devices. While a touchscreen may make playing some games easier -- such as strategy or puzzle titles -- the technology can actually create problems in genres like action or simulation, since touch gestures are normally much less precise than dedicated buttons or joysticks. Onscreen imitations will often just obscure part of the play area.
In 2008 Apple applied for a patent on a peripheral which gamers would insert a handheld into and get controls like buttons and a direction pad. Features like a camera, microphone, and speakers would be duplicated; it might even introduce technology more common with dedicated gaming systems, such as rumble or a second screen.