iPhone & iPad Controller Guidelines Arrive with iOS 7

Following its announcement that third-party iPhone controllers would be supported by the software development kit coming as part of iOS 7 this fall, Apple has now posted more information about what requirements these controllers will need to meet and how game developers will be able to interact with them.

The information, which is currently only accessible to users with an iOS Developer account, delivers an on-high look at what users might be able to expect when these third-party controllers launch.

The pictures below highlight two of the examples that Apple has provided for third-party iPhone controller manufacturers and developers looking to capitalize on the new technology. As indicated in the picture, both styles of devices don’t have the same controller layout, meaning that manufacturers won’t be forced to adhere too much in the way of button guidelines based on the user they are marketing to.

Sample iPhone controller mock up from Apple.

Sample iPhone controller mock up from Apple.

For example while the device on the right sports a left and right shoulder button, the controller on the left sports two shoulders buttons on the left and right. Apple will allow game developers to program for two different profiles, “Gamepad Profile” and an “extended game profile”. It’s those profiles that will govern the button profiles of the controllers themselves. Apple encourages developers to go with the profile that works for their game based on the amount of complexity the game might require.

Alternate iPad controller mockup from Apple.

Alternate iPad controller mockup from Apple.

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Read: iOS 7 Will Support Game Controllers

For example, a side-scrolling game like Super Mario wouldn’t require the use of too many controls as its pretty low on the complexity scale however a first person shooter like Call of Duty would require the use of an extended game profile to play since it would need to make use of more buttons.

Apple will require iOS developers to still support the touch screen and integrated sensors as a way to control games, meaning developers won’t be able to create games that are only designed for use with a controller.

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That’s important since most of the users who download these games will inevitably still be touch first users. Apple is careful to note that these guidelines are only preliminary, and that it may expand on these overtime

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