One of the more recent patent applications that Apple filed in the USPTO will surely raise a few eyebrows, but avid iOS gamers might get moderately excited. It looks Cupertinians have been looking into improving the way you play games on your iPhones, as they are seemingly exploring the possibility to endow the home button with joystick functions.
No, we are not joking, we promise! According to the accompanying patent images, the home button will slightly emerge from its standard position and allow gamers to use it as an additional input controller. The patent description is quite vague, but it's hinted that this home button/gaming joystick hardware crossover will provide almost the same functionality as a regular gamepad.
The advantages of this joystick home button are clear - your finger(s) will no longer cover and hide a large part of the screen, which will surely allow game developers to unleash their imagination and create mobile games with better interfaces. A few drawbacks to this possible future hardware design can be seen as well - we don't know how the home button will go up from its default position, but more moving parts exponentially increase the chance of damage to the home button itself.
The patent application has been filed back in Q3 2013, thus we might speculate that Apple has had more than enough time to further work on this intriguing home button design. Who knows, it might grace one of the next iPhone iterations.