In what seems to be an announcement lost within the buzz of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks (amongst other WWDC news), Apple will finally open up the iOS SDK to fully support hardware game controllers, enabling handheld-esque gaming experiences akin to the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
As with background apps downloads and new Directions APIs, Apple announced hardware controller support during Monday’s keynote address in one of those ‘things we added but didn’t have time to talk about’ slides (pictured above). The slide indicates that the iOS 7 SDK will support ‘MFi game controllers,’ which is a reference to Apple’s licensing program for third-party hardware accessories. Additionally, Touch Arcade points us to images from Apple’s iOS 7 Developer Guide showing a graphic of two controllers, strikingly similar to the Nintendo 3DS and Wii Classic Controller (from left to right), showing new methods of interacting with iOS via hardware buttons and joysticks. Moreover, we can’t help but notice that this announcement comes right off the heals of Tim Cook’s pledge at D11 to be ‘more open’ than before.
There are also a few other enhancements for gamers coming in iOS 7….Here’s how Apple explains the new Game Controller framework: