iPhone5Mod today unveiled a new case accessory that gives the iPhone 5 a physical keyboard and video game controller all in a super-slim magnetic package. iPhone5Mod is a Chinese accessories retailer which was one of the earliest to supply a third-party Lightning dock/cable, and which also provided a modkit to make your iPhone 4 or 4S look like an iPhone 5 before Apple demanded it be pulled from sale, but this latest shouldn’t run afoul of Apple’s rules and regulations.
The EX Hybrid Controller for iPhone 5, as the device is called, features a snap-on case for the iPhone 5 that has a powerful magnet built-in. Two aluminum back surfaces then stack on top of that, providing both a Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard, and a game controller using the same connectivity, each at only 2mm thick. iPhone5Mod claims the keyboard is the thinnest and lightest ever made for the iPhone, and judging by its appearance in the video, that would indeed appear to be true.
The EX Hybrid lets you snap the iPhone to the keyboard or game controller using its magnets, and can be used in either portrait or landscape orientation. iPhone5Mod claims 40 hours of active use time for the EX Hybrid, with 160 hours of standby time, and only an hour required to reach a full charge. The case is also water and dust-proof (though it won’t protect your iPhone from either of these). When I contacted iPhone5Mod for compatibility, they said that the game controller’s d-pad functions would work with all games, and that the buttons work with any game that supports additional function keys.
Despite their extremely thin construction, iPhone5Mod also told me that the keys on both the keyboard and game pad are indeed buttons that physically click, and not just touch-sensitive surfaces. The only thing that has me a little apprehensive is that in the video, we don’t see the controller actually working with a game, but I’ve requested a device to try it out ourselves. If this thing works as advertised, it’s a steal at the $49.90 asking price.