A stylus? Psh, get rid of it. A physical keyboard? Nah, no need for that either. Tactile feedback is a thing of the past, all we need is a big glass touch screen…right? Well that's what Apple would have you believe anyway, a theory that is further being cemented with their upcoming release of the iPad. On a basic level it seems to be very true, we're able to text, surf the web, take photos, all without any physical buttons or keys. What about high level gaming though, is that a different story? If you'd asked me 3 years ago I would've said "there's no way for it to be done. We're humans, touch is one of our basic senses, we need it." Over the past several months though with games like N.O.V.A and Need For Speed Shift, or even classic ports like Wolfenstein, I've become more of a believer in the future. Not everyone is so ready to give up on game controllers, one such company being iControlPad.
The iControlPad has been in beta testing and undergoing redesigns since last May but as of February 18th the company has stated mass production has begun. The iControlPad can already be used with classic game emulators and the company is seeding a SDK to anyone interested in supporting the device. Two models are to be made, one with a built-in battery pack, one without. Based on early videos and screen shots the controls appear to work flawlessly with no lag at all. Here's the catch, and it's a big one, the iControlPad only works on phones that are Jailbroken. I'm not sure exactly why that is since we know iPhone 3.0 does support accessory plugin's but it's very clear that it must be Jailbroken. There are a couple of hints on the site that indicate they may be working on standard OS supported version but there certainly aren't any promises made. All hope is not lost though for those who wish to keep their iPhones pure and sacred, the Game Bone Pro is coming.
I know I've mentioned this device before and yes it still remains in the preproduction phase. However, the 22Moo site as recently as February 11th has stated that the most current redesign is on track and they are currently investigating iPad support. This too will be seeding a free SDK to developers but the big difference is the GBP will be carrying the "Approved by Apple" branding on its side. While the controller design itself may be a little cheesy, its features make it more than just a little appealing, including a 2000mAh iPhone charging battery, bluetooth support, building speakers, mic and 3.5 audio headphone jack. Still no official word on pricing or ETA but seeing as it's been in design since last June I'm hoping for sooner rather than later.
Jailbroken or not it's pretty clear that some of the iPhone world has not completely given up on buttons or D-pads yet. I'm personally still on the fence but where do you stand?
Here's a clip of the iControlPad model with the built in battery pack: