Apple, who is struggling to grow sales of their iPads, is close to launching a new gaming pad.

The new device runs on a modified version of Apple’s iOS and is tipped to be launched in the second half of 2013.

Reporting from the the Games Developers’ Conference in San Francisco, PocketGamer.biz said Apple has been openly discussing its plans with games industry figures in order to ensure high profile titles are compatible with the peripheral at launch.

The report claims Apple had been active at the show, briefing developers on the control pad from a meeting room booked under a pseudonym, in order to keep everything under the radar. 

According to PocketGamer sources, Apple plans to formally unveil the long-rumoured control pad at a media event in April, which rumours have suggested could see the arrival of the iPad 5 and the iPad mini 2.

The device, or a prototype, did not make a physical appearance at the show and developers have not yet been briefed on a potential release date, according to the report. 

The launch of a dedicated controller would likely be Apple’s response to the Kickstarter-funded, Android-based Ouya games console, which brings mobile-style, smaller games into the living room for $100.

The aim of that console is to offer previously inhibited access to the living room for small, independent game developers, who’ve struggled to be heard on the big consoles.

Apple’s offering would free gamers from the touchscreen (we’d sure love to play FIFA 13 on a controller), but also open the door for the rumoured launch of an App Store for the Apple TV set-top box, allowing users to play on their TV.

Apple is yet to officially confirm the launch of this peripheral, but we’re sure it would sell by the absolute bucket load if today’s reports prove to be correct. 

It wouldn’t be the first peripheral to launch, there are a host of third-party options, like the ION iCade already available, but stick an Apple logo on a games controller and watch it fly.
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