Remember how the Tauntaun sleeping bag ThinkGeek made as an April Fool’s joke was later turned into an actual product because there was so much demand for it? Well Ars Technica makes an interesting case for why the fake iCade from yesterday’s festivities could also become a reality.
While the iPad’s accelerometer and touchscreen give it some unique gaming options, game developers could certainly do more if the product supported some kind of external D-pad or joystick. This is actually not a completely new idea because two years ago a group of hackers created the iControlPad designed to turn a jailbroken iPhone into a more traditional portable gaming device. Since then, a few prototypes for the iControlPad were created and the product is now being manufactured in the UK in limited quantities.
The biggest problem right for these kinds of products is that can only work with a jailbroken iPhone. Otherwise, the API Apple added in iPhone OS 3.0 forces companies who want to make iPhone and iPod touch accessories to pay a potentially prohibitive licensing fee to join Apple’s “Made for iPod” program. At the same time, these companies would also need to get access to the necessary chips that will authorize their accessories to connect to the Apple devices.
While these roadblocks have limited the development of such products in the past, it is possible that with the increased gaming possibilities of the larger screen iPad there will be a greater demand for such accessories. In fact, Apple themselves may have been looking into this idea ever since they filed a patent for a gaming accessory in 2008.