Wikipad, the company behind a gaming-focused Android tablet released last year, has announced Gamevice, an iOS game controller made specifically for the iPad mini. The Gamevice was originally announced for Android and Windows tablets in January but, as noted by TouchArcade, the company has seemingly switched to an iPad-only device, targeting a public release later this year with "additional platforms" following soon.
The Gamevice, unlike other game controllers for iPad, implements hardware controls through a design reminiscent of Nintendo's Wii U GamePad: the controller holds the iPad mini in the middle, with front-facing controls on both sides and additional triggers in the back of the unit. Controls include dual analog sticks, a D-pad, four face buttons, and twin triggers; according to Cult of Mac's Rob LeFebvre, the Gamevice is a "fascinating piece of kit" and the "most unique" iOS controller he tested at E3 this month.
Like other game controllers for iOS, the Gamevice will rely on Apple's MFi program and game controller framework to work with any App Store game that implements support for hardware controls. The technology, launched last year with iOS 7, was met with initial optimism but commercial products released over the past 12 months have failed to impress in terms of build quality and price.
At WWDC earlier this month, Apple announced an addition to the controller framework called "controller forwarding", which will allow hardware controllers that snap onto iPhones to work as remote controllers for iPad and Mac games on iOS 8. The Gamevice takes a different approach, acting as a cradle for the iPad mini aimed at offering an integrated controller setup that retains portability and familiarity with traditional console controllers.
The Gamevice will be released "in 2014" according to the company. You can sign up for more information here.