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Apple wins patent right for a future game controller, thumbstick input

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has officially granted Apple patent rights for Thumbstick Input, which is related to Apple’s own future gaming controller for Apple TV or a prospective Apple TV Pro device that will allow higher-end gaming.

According to the American tech giant, the thumbstick user input device is expected to have a housing and a shaft borne by the housing. The shaft may have an upper end that extends beyond the housing for thumb manipulation and a lower end that is contained within the housing.

A number of sensors carried by the housing to sense shaft movement, as well as a first contact member within the housing, may be included in the thumbstick user input device.

Gaming Controller For Apple tv
Gaming Controller For Apple TV | Image credit: Patently Apple

In addition, a spring coupled between the first contact member and the shaft to push the first contact member and the shaft apart. At the same time, a motor carrier to have at the bottom of the housing with a rotating output extending upward from it will be included in the thumbstick user input device.

Recall that last month, the tech giant submitted a different patent application for gaming controllers, signaling the potential for gaming devices at the US Patent and Trademark Office, implying the firm is venturing into the gaming market.

With Apple’s thumbstick user input device, the firm is said to have taken some cues from a Nintendo Switch, where users can use the Switch with the controllers linked directly to the screen. They can remove the controllers for a whole different gaming experience.

In addition, the set of photos exhibiting the new designs suggests that the game controller can be attached to Apple devices such as iPhones, iPad, and Mac via Bluetooth. It would feature a special switch to enable a gaming mode on the device, which is intriguing about Apple’s future game controller.

Therefore, the thumbstick user input is Apple’s third patent on a gaming controller aside from the earlier two patents designed as a foldable case with the buttons inside and a more classic joystick design.


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