updated 06:00 pm EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
New products take advantage of special iOS 7 gaming APIs for third-party hardware
Even though the iPhone and iPod Touch already widely outsell dedicated handheld mobile gaming devices, Apple has expanded gaming options in iOS 7 by introducing new APIs for third-party hardware controllers. Two new such products, from Logitech and ClamCase respectively, hint that they will be part of a wave of authorized "Made for i" (MFi) hardware that takes advantage of the new APIs. Both of the forthcoming devices are external gaming "enclosure" type controllers that nestle the iPhone while adding physical buttons and joysticks.
Logitech's announcement came in the form of a teaser on its Facebook page, but doesn't show the actual controller itself. Instead, two empty hands hover around a floating iPhone 5 as the tagline asks "something missing?" and ends with an invitation to "find out more." No further official specs or information are at present available, but a leaked image of what is purported to be the game controller (seen below) suggests a snug enclosure with old-school SNES-type controls which appears to connect directly through a Lightning connector.
ClamCase has also produced a controller case that looks on first glance more elaborate and aimed at more advanced gamers. The GameCase connects by Bluetooth and is thus able to support any iOS 7-compatible device. The unit features dual analog joysticks, and includes its own battery, and buttons on one side with directional controls on the other. Users can leave their email address on the ClamCase website to be notified when the product is available.
Any game that utilizes the iOS 7 controller API will work with these and other forthcoming controllers without the need for special drivers. The move should further establish iOS as a serious mobile gaming platform, further hurting sales of competitors like the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.