Apple just patented the best smartphone gaming feature, and it'll probably never use it

apple joystick trademark

The worst part about keeping an eye on new tech patents is knowing in your heart that most of these new ideas -- especially some of the most off-the-wall amazing ones -- will probably never see the light of day. Such is the case with a new Apple patent for a hidden built-in joystick that would turn every iOS device into a much more capable piece of gaming hardware.

apple joystick patent

The patent is kind of genius in that it describes a joystick that is hidden in a device's home button. The small analog stick would act as a normal home button while the device is in its standard mode, but once sufficient force is applied it would pop out via a spring and rise above the face of the phone so that it could be used as an input device for gaming. It would then sink back into the phone with another push.

The patent was originally filed way back in July of 2013, and was just published today, but as we've seen so many times before, chances are this isn't something Apple is actually planning on building into a retail device any time soon. Which is a shame, because it's downright awesome.

[via Patently Apple]