There are rumors that Apple will release its own gamepad or gaming controller along with a revamped Apple TV set-top box in 2021. The goal is purportedly to beef up sales of the set-top box and give even more impetus to the Apple Arcade gaming service.
How about an Apple gamepad that can automatically switch between devices like AirPods and AirPods Pro? For example, if you’re listening to another device with your AirPods but you want to listen to your iPhone instead, start playing music, a podcast, or other audio on your iPhone, and your AirPods will switch to iPhone automatically. Your AirPods can also switch to iPhone when you make or answer a call on your iPhone.
An Apple gamepad could do the same. In other words, the gaming controller could detect whether you’re preparing to game on a Mac, Apple TV, or iPad and automatically pair with just that device.
If Apple did make its own gamepad, it wouldn’t be the first time the company did this. It made a gaming controller and, in fact, an entire game console with the ill-fated Apple Bandai Pippin (pictured) in early 1996.
It cost US$599 and was designed as a computer system aimed mostly at playing CD-based multimedia software, especially games, but also functioning as a thin client. The operating system is a version of the Mac’s System 7.5.2, and is based on a 66MHz PowerPC 603 processor and a 14.4 kb/s modem. It featured a 4×-speed CD-ROM drive and a video output that could connect to a standard TV.
Alas, the Pippin’s poor performance, badly reviews controls and dearth of games led to its demise. Apple only sold 42,000 Pippins, according to Nelson, and production was canceled in 1997.
So don’t look for Apple to make its own game console again. Instead, if the rumors are true, it will look to the Apple TV set-top box to fill that niche.