Is Apple going retro? If you're a fan of the good old days of Atari, Galaga and Lunar Lander, you could be in luck. The next iPhone could bring back the analog joystick.
Apple just filed a patent for a multifunction input device that could change the way you use your iPhone. I bet this joystick doesn't look like you think it will.
But where in the world is Apple going to attack a joystick to a phone? Apple is renowned for its sleek and sophisticated look, so I have a hard time imagining a giant joystick sticking out of the screen.
It's a game of "where's Waldo?" with the new Apple joystick. It looks like Apple is planning on keeping the fingerprint sensor in the home button, but is going a step farther.
Apple has patented a design to turn the home button - with the built-in fingerprint sensor - into a joystick that will slightly pop up off the screen. It will look and feel similar to a newer Nintendo DS joystick. You can see the patent design in the image below.
For mobile game players, this could be a godsend. Many smartphone games that require movement have an on-screen digital joystick that interferes with the game view. This joystick design could solve that problem once and for all.
I can imagine a few problems with the design, though. First, how are you going to keep crumbs, pocket lint and other gunk from clogging the joystick? How sturdy will the joystick be? Is it going to snap off after being used twice? Will it be available on all models or just the premium - see "more expensive" - iPhone 7 models?
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Let me know what you think in the comments below.