I spent a long time talking about the Apple iPad with my new gang/80s tribute band The New Futurists last night, and while opinion was mixed in the group as to who was going to buy Apple's new device, one thing was clear: No one was certain what they would do with an iPad if they had one. Except me: I'd use it to play games, and it looks like Apple is taking steps to make iPad gaming more user-friendly.
A patent application revealed by IntoMobile indicates that Apple is working to address one of the main problems in iPad and iPhone gaming: The controls. Having your avatar and your control scheme on the same surface is problematic for gaming -- your fingers totally get in the way-- so Apple is patenting a gaming attachment to seperate the two. The attachments envisioned basically transforms your iPad/iPhone into a gaming rig by adding a frame with a joystick and button combination. Apple is also looking into adding variations of the game-frame that include a camera, vibration, microphone, and an accelerometer.
Apple's patent also covers technology that lets you use your Apple devices with your TV and stereo via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, so you can stream video and audio to your TV and watch 24 or play games on the big screen instead of your phone/tablet.
These patents, filed in 2008 but recently made public, could represent Apple's plans for their phone and tablet, or they could represent the company's attempt to keep others from making these kinds of add-ons. It remains to be seen.
It also remains to be seen whether anyone but the Apple-faithful will actually buy iPads once they come out. We shall soon know: Apple's iPad will be on sale tomorrow morning; I suggest you get in line now.