Apple Patents Multifunctional Home Button Doubling as Gaming Joystick

Have you ever dreamed about a joystick built into your iPhone? If so, this patent shows that Apple has been watching your dreams: today the company won a patent for a home button that transforms into a pure gaming joystick. (Gamers, this is for you!)

According to the patent’s description, Apple is toying with the idea of a multifunctional home button (via Patently Apple). In the first mode, the home button does its normal job. The second mode is activated by pressure: as the user presses the home button, it pops up and transitions into a thumb joystick.

Iphone home button joystick

The home button can take its initial position with a simple push — when the user has finished the gaming session. As you can see from the images, however, the joystick is much smaller than what you get on traditional game controllers, in order to fit into the slim body of the iPhone.

Currently, the home button includes a fingerprint sensor. The patent, however, reveals that Apple is playing with the idea of packing more sensors into the button: a force sensor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a contact sensor, and an optical, capacitive, and ultrasonic sensor.

Apple credits Colin Ely and Fletcher Rothkopf for the patent, which was first filed for in 2013.