controller Stories March 4, 2016

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the state of iPhone and iPad controllers, but I have seen some improvements since we first covered some of the shortcomings with the early batch of game controllers that came out under Apple’s Made-for-iPhone licensing program. Today I’m taking a look at the new Tt eSports Contour MFi controller, a new $65 option that includes a classic Xbox-style design and a built-in stand to hold your iPhone and turn it into a true handheld game console.

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controller Stories August 19, 2015

Square Enix announced earlier this year at E3 that it would bring back its beloved Final Fantasy VII title as a remake for consoles, PC, and iOS. Today, the iPhone and iPad version of the game officially arrives on the App Store.

While we learned previously that Square Enix wouldn’t be using its Luminous Engine for the remake, the game’s iTunes page does confirm that the iOS title is a direct “port based on Final Fantasy VII for PC” and arrives without any changes to the original game’s storyline. It’s also made some enhancements specially for the iPhone and iPad version… expand full story

controller Stories March 3, 2015

Sonos Controller app updated w/ quick Rooms access, new iPad UI, improved search, more

Sonos is today rolling out version 5.3 of its Sonos Controller app for iOS to introduce a few new features and a tweaked user interface. 

The feature being highlighted above others in the update is easier access to controlling the app’s Rooms feature: Effortlessly move your music around your home with a more accessible ROOMS menu available by tapping the top of any screen in the Sonos app. Group and ungroup rooms from the ROOMS menu to play music in perfect synchrony throughout your home.

Also new in the update is an updated user experience for iPad users that offers new, separate views for currently playing music and discovery features:

  • More engaging browse experience for tablets. Version 5.3 provides separate views for music discovery and what’s currently playing.
  • Last browsed on a phone or tablet. Quickly return to the last place you browsed.
    • Touch to view the last place you browsed. On your phone, you can also go back to the last place you browsed by swiping down on the Now Playing screen.
    • Touch the collapsed Now Playing screen at the bottom of the screen to return to full-screen view.

Sonos highlighted a few other new features including more readily available search and a new playback progress slider.

The updated app, version 5.3, is available on the App Store now.

What’s New in Version 5.3

SIMPLER ROOM CONTROL AND FASTER ACCESS TO ALL YOUR MUSIC.

Effortlessly move your music around your home with a more accessible Rooms menu available by tapping the top of any screen in the Sonos app.

A more engaging browse experience for tablets with dedicated screens for what’s playing and music discovery.

Simplified track progression bar, just below the album art in the Now playing screen. Drag it to whatever point in the song you want to play. This is only applicable for music sources that allow this.

Switch between screens by swiping down from the Now Playing screen to go back to browsing your music. Then swipe from far left to right to show all your music sources.

Search is now more readily available so you can quickly find and play music.

controller Stories January 27, 2015

Misfit Flash fitness tracker adding remote controls for Spotify, Nest, IFTTT + other home automation gear

Misfit, maker of the Flash and Shine wearable fitness trackers, today announced a collection of partnerships that will extend Flash’s functionality to include limited remote control of certain apps and home automation accessories. According to Misfit, Flash — a coin-shaped accessory with an integrated accelerometer, button and small lights — will be able to work as a wireless on/off switch in the following situations:

  • Start and stop a Spotify playlist.
  • Wake up to an ideal temperature using Flash’s sleep tracker and smart alarm with the Nest Learning Thermostat.
  • Connect to over 160 products and services via IFTTT, using a double press and other triggers to turn devices on and off, send stored messages, and send fitness information to an archive.
  • Use certain Logitech Harmony systems to activate commands such as “Watch a Movie,” “Play Games,” and “Listen to Music.”
  • Double press to send a message via the Yo messaging system.
  • Unlock August Smart Lock and Latch doors.
  • Change colors or turn on/off the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight.
  • Check the air quality of your room using Bitfinder.

Misfit says that the features are coming to Flash in March, which should be shortly after the release of Misfit Bolt, a $50 light bulb capable of being wirelessly controlled by Flash. Additional partners will be announced in the future.

controller Stories June 9, 2014

SteelSeries announces full-sized Made-for-iPhone/iPad bluetooth game controller

We previously reviewed the first Made-for-iPhone/iPad “Stratus” controller launched by SteelSeries and today the company announced a full-sized version with the introduction of Stratus XL:

The Stratus XL Wireless Gaming Controller features a console-style layout with a pressure-sensitive directional pad (D-pad), 4 pressure-sensitive action buttons along with a total of 4 shoulder buttons – 2 pressure-sensitive top shoulder buttons and 2 analog trigger bottom shoulder buttons. In addition to dual analog sticks, Stratus XL includes a dedicated pairing button to connect to iOS devices via Bluetooth and a convenient on/off switch to save on power. The Stratus XL will deliver an estimated 40 hours of gameplay with two standard AA batteries; a battery life indicator is located on the underside of the device.

The controller also includes red LED indicator lights that show up to 4 controllers connected to a single device for multiplayer.

The Stratus XL controller is coming later this year but there is no word on pricing yet. Here’s to hoping the larger size improves on some of the issues we had with the last controller. You can see a size comparison of the two controllers to the right.

controller Stories June 3, 2014

iOS-8-controller-forwarding

Apple took some time to talk gaming during a presentation closed to the public yesterday at WWDC. While noting that gaming is now an area that Apple is “pushing on very strongly”, the company also announced a new feature coming for gamers and developers: Controller Forwarding.  expand full story

controller Stories February 28, 2014

Moga-MFi-iOS-BT-controller

Moga, the company behind one of the first Made-for-iPhone game controllers, today announced that it will soon unveil its next controller for iOS devices. It also sent over the image above that gives us some clues about what to expect. Unlike the Moga Ace Power controller that we reviewed back in December, the new controller appears to utilize Apple’s non-form fitting controller design which essentially makes it closer to a standard Bluetooth controller. If you compare the design to Moga’s other Bluetooth controllers for mobile devices, it also looks like the middle of the controller might fold out to form a stand for iOS devices.  expand full story

controller Stories February 5, 2014

Phonejoy app provides complete list of App Store games compatible w/ MFi controllers

One of the complaints about Apple’s new MFi game controllers has been the lack of an App Store section that lists games updated with support. Some of the manufacturers are maintaining lists of their own online, but it would be nice to be able to browse the App Store and easily find games that work with the controllers. That’s why I’m pleased about a new app called Phonejoy that offers a slick UI to browse around 100 iOS 7 games and counting that are compatible with the MFi game controllers. It’s also listing games that support the popular iCade controllers and other gamepads released before Apple’s new MFi program.

Over the last month we’ve seen the first few Apple authorized game controllers released by manufacturers through Apple’s new MFi program hitting the market. While the program’s aim to implement a standardized controller framework brings a lot of potential for gaming on iOS, we’ve covered in detail how the first few controllers have had a bit of a rough start. On top of lack of support from developers and users not being able to easily find content, consumers also rebelled against the $99 price point leading several manufacturers to drop launch prices as low as $70.

We’ve covered some of the issues with Apple’s new MFi game controller program and also reviewed the first few to hit the market from Logitech, Moga, and SteelSeries.

The Phonejoy app is available on the App Store for free now and the company also has a Kickstarter project for its own controller that it plans to ship in March.

controller Stories January 16, 2014

steelseries-stratus-07

Apple’s new MFi game controller program offers a lot of promise for gaming on iOS— the top mobile gaming platform around could also soon be a serious platform for hardcore gamers. But the first crop of controllers have been met with much criticism from developers, reviewers and consumers alike. The consensus so far: flimsy buttons and joysticks, lack of support from developers, and a $99 price tag make them far overpriced compared to your standard Bluetooth game controller.

The launch for the first few controllers to hit the market was rushed, developers are disappointed and still trying to catch up, and manufacturers are limited in pricing, features, and quality due to Apple’s MFi program requirements. What does Apple have to do to overcome a rocky start to its game controller program which is supposed to control quality? And how are manufacturers limited by Apple in building better controllers at a fair price? We’ve dug into Apple’s MFi program and talked to developers and companies building the controllers to find out… expand full story

controller Stories January 10, 2014

While it’s been years since Apple made an appearance at CES in any official capacity, accessories that pair with its iOS devices have for several years dominated the show floor. This year was no different with most of the big trends–  fitness and health tracking wearables, Bluetooth controllers, and home automation products–  all designed and developed with the iPhone, iPad, and Mac in mind.  Below we’ve put together a roundup of the most interesting wearables, cases, controllers and more that we found for iOS devices.  expand full story

I previously reviewed the first two Apple authorized game controllers to hit the market under Apple’s new Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch program from Logitech and Moga. Both used Apple’s form-fitting design that docks an iPhone or iPod touch directly into the controller via a Lightning connector. However, Apple’s program also allows another breed of standalone controllers that connect over Bluetooth and therefore also work with iPad and Mac. Unveiled at CES, this week I’ve put one of the first Bluetooth, non-form-fitting designs to the test with the new Stratus wireless controller from SteelSeries. expand full story

controller Stories January 6, 2014

Today we get a look at the first Apple authorized Bluetooth game controller for iOS devices with the Stratus Wireless Controller announced today by SteelSeries.

We’ve already reviewed the first two Apple authorized game controllers to hit the market since it introduced its controller MFi program alongside iOS 7 earlier this year: Logitech’s PowerShell and Moga’s AcePower. Those two controllers used Apple’s form-fitting design, which lets an iOS device dock directly into a recess in the controller and connect via a built-in Lightning connector. The new controller from SteelSeries is the first standalone controller that connects to any iOS device over Bluetooth, which means it will also support iPads. It uses Apple’s extended layout, which gives you dual analog joysticks and an extra set of shoulder triggers on top of the d-pad, face buttons and single set of triggers on Apple’s standard layout.

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controller Stories December 24, 2013

On Friday we got our hands on one of the first of Apple’s new MFi game controllers for a full review of the Logitech PowerShell. Today we’re taking a look at that controller’s only real competitor: the Ace Power from Moga.

Does Moga’s controller improve on the few nitpicks we had with Logitech’s? What controller is the better buy for the $100 asking price? Head below to find out.  expand full story

controller Stories December 20, 2013

SAMSUNG CSC

Following the introduction of Apple’s new MFi game controller frameworks at WWDC in June, well-known accessory makers this month have released some of the first Apple-certified, Made for iPhone gaming controllers. Today I’m taking a look at one of those controllers with the new Logitech PowerShell, followed by some details on exactly how it differs from the new MOGA controller and exactly what to expect from Apple’s new controller experience as we wait for developers to update games with support.  expand full story

controller Stories December 1, 2013

MUSIC_GIFT_GUIDE_HERO

With an iPad and few accessories, these days anyone can have a functional recording studio in their home for less than the cost of a Mac. Whether you’re just getting started and want a modest iPad recording setup in your living room, or you’re looking to setup a full-blown home studio with your Mac, our comprehensive gift guide below will walk you through all the essentials and save you some cash in the process. expand full story

controller Stories November 20, 2013

Logitech-PowerShell-Hero

Following the announcement for Moga’s new iOS 7 game controller yesterday, Logitech today officially announced its new MFi controller, the PowerShell. Like Moga’s controller, Logitech’s also doubles as a battery pack with a built-in 1500mAh battery (slightly smaller than Moga’s 1800 mAh) and will sell for the same $99 that Moga is asking.

Both of the new controllers are using Apple’s new MFi iOS 7 game controller program, which offers accessory makers and developers one standard framework for implementing support for iOS compatible game controllers. Apple allows two types of game controllers and two configurations all with pressure sensitive buttons and consistent layouts. The first type of controller is the form-fitting controller (like the Moga and the new Logitech), which allows your iOS device to be docked right into the controller. There will also be standalone controllers that connect over Bluetooth.

Logitech is using Apple’s standard MFi configuration, which gives you a D-Pad, A/B/X/Y face buttons, and left and right shoulder buttons. Moga, on the other hand, is using Apple’s extended layout, which adds an extra set of shoulder buttons and left and right thumbsticks. expand full story

controller Stories June 17, 2013

Cytek-The-Collectibles-03

Crytek, the company behind CryEngine and the popular Crysis series, is planning to release a new tactical action game later this year for iOS called ‘The Collectibles’.  We’re told the company implemented support for Apple’s new MFi gaming controller framework just in time to give developers a preview of the game and new controls during a session last week at WWDC.

Developers tell us team members from Crytek’s Budapest studio demoed the game on stage, which has the player command a squad of five through your typical war-torn environment. It isn’t the first time Crytek has released a game for iOS devices, but it is the first time it’s bringing a shooter of sorts– the genre its best known for– to the platform. There doesn’t, however, seem to be any first-person shooter elements, as the title looks to be an overhead, tactical action game from the screenshots below. expand full story

controller Stories June 7, 2013

GamePop-iOS-iPhone-iPad-Apple-01

In case you hadn’t heard: BlueStacks, the company with around 10M+ using its technology that brings Android games to PC and Mac, has recently been working on a new dedicated Android gaming console that aims to compete with OUYA and others in the space. It’s yet to launch, and up until today its big differentiator has been its $6.99/per month subscription model, but today it becomes the first to bring iOS games to the TV.

We spoke to John Gargiulo from BlueStacks who told us a little more about the announcement and how the company will bring iPhone and iPad games to the GamePop platform using its ‘Looking Glass’ technology. It’s also announcing its first major partner from the iOS developer world, and it happens to be creators of the hugely popular Fieldrunners series, Subatomic Studios. expand full story

controller Stories February 13, 2012

ThinkGeek gave us a glimpse at an upcoming iCADE controller mimicking the classic Nintendo controller layout and decorated with a retro 8-bit themed graphics. The “8-Bitty” is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, connects over Bluetooth (two AAA batteries required), and is compatible with all iCADE supported games, including the Atari Classics collection. Unfortunately, you are going to have to wait until later this year when ThinkGeek starts selling them for $25. You can sign up now to be notified by email when it does become available.

You will also want to keep your eyes out for three new iCade models we recently told you about during CES 2012. One of which is the iCade Mobile ($79.99) that is iPhone and iPod touch compatible, and it allows you to dock your device for a PSP-like handheld experience. That model and updated iPad arcade cabinets are expected to launch in the coming months.

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controller Stories January 26, 2012

A patent application published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office earlier today reveals Apple is flirting with the idea of a universal touchscreen controller capable of controlling multiple devices including a “television, a video tape player, a video disk player, a stereo, a home control system, or a computer system.” The patent application is titled “Apparatus and Method to Facilitate Universal Remote Control” and was filed Sept. 30, 2011.

The patent application’s background covers many of the issues with current controllers for televisions and the devices mentioned above. It noted current universal remotes are “complex to operate” and unable to adapt to incorporate every command or control functionality supported by a device or future device. It also mentions the fact that users are often “confronted with multiple” remotes, which is the classic “table full of remotes” scenario described by Steve Jobs when talking about the Apple TV at D8. The patent application explained:

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controller Stories January 11, 2012

We brought you some of the hottest accessories launched at CES 2012 yesterday, such as the vertical MacBook Air Dock from Henge and a new lineup of cloud products from D-link. That list also included one audio product, Griffin’s Twenty amp enabling Airplay playback on non-powered speakers, but today we bring you the rest of the most intriguing audio accessories and peripherals launched at the show.

Among them: A new audio interface for iPad from Griffin, new iRig accessories from IK Multimedia, and controllers from Line 6 and ION. expand full story

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