Apple is taking iPad games seriously with better keyboard and gamepad support

Apple is greatly improving its compatibility with games on iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and tvOS. The most important additions are support for controller button remapping, haptics, noise, motion, and even the ability to properly use an iPad gaming keyboard and mouse.

Game developers and gamers have long been asking for support of zone-based noise and haptics, and it will finally come later this year. The developers will be able to schedule comments in their games, so that the players can feel specific things like the recoil of the weapons or explosions.

Apple also plans to support some controllers with motion inputs, such as Sony’s DualShock 4 controller. This includes support for Lightbar, allowing Apple developers to change the color of the light in the controller when a health bar decreases, for example. The touchpad surface on the DualShock 4 will also be available to game developers, with two-finger tracking and support for the touchpad button.

Gamepad button reassignment.

Apple is finally adding support for the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller in its upcoming iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS updates. This will include support for all four palette buttons and even button remapping. Apple’s new button remapping is available globally for all controllers, and you can even adjust buttons by app or game.

All of these additions are solid enhancements to gamepad use on Apple devices, but the company also offers the ability to play on an iPad with a keyboard and mouse instead of just a gamepad or touchscreen.

Currently, you can try using an iPad gaming keyboard, but you can’t press multiple keys at once, so the support is really mediocre. Mouse support for current iPad games also often requires additional clicks and feels unnatural, so Apple also allows game developers to improve on this.

This is great news for fans of first-person shooter games, or games that require more precision for input. Apple will even allow game developers to disable pointer system gestures like the Dock or Control Center so that games can get the most out of full-screen gaming.

The new Apple Game Center.

Along with all of these input enhancements, Apple is also overhauling its Game Center user interface. The revamped design includes a new board with a clear layer on top of the games that supports both horizontal and vertical orientations. Apple has also redesigned its Game Center achievements section and made the app look more consistent on iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and macOS.

All of these additions show that Apple has spent a lot of time improving games on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Given the vast improvements in the operating system, it is surprising that Apple has yet to release its own controller that seamlessly switches between iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and Macs like the company’s AirPods. It could be the hardware boost that games need on iPad and Apple TV.