UPDATE: We've investigated the actual patent, and it turns out this isn't about a 'game controller' on its own at all. Click here to read the new story.
ORIGINAL STORY: Despite the company's preference for touch and gesture control, Apple has researched dedicated games controllers.
A patent published yesterday shows the firm has prototyped "a schematic of a video game controller for the standalone media player or a video game system".
The patent's filings show that said 'media player' is an Apple TV device, with the example controller (pictured) also said to work with iPhone and iPod.
Also, the document adds, iOS software would be updated to allow users to decide what and how the controller inputs are used:
Apple's specs say the device would work wirelessly with radio-frequency ID and NFC tags, not a wired connection as pictured.
Some have speculated that with a simple software update Apple TV coupled with a controller like this would make a decent under-the-TV console. Certainly, access to the hundreds of thousands of apps on the App Store plus a core gamer pleasing controller, is a potent possibility. And a dedicated games controller would appease the critics who say touch interfaces aren't as rewarding for games as digital buttons.
Of course, as with all patents filed by firms that wish to protect their research, this is likely just as far as we will see the idea progress.