Could Apple really be working on iOS game controllers?

Apple accessories with actual buttons? Whoa. Also: Nook "Audio" rumor, and Galaxy SIII updates

Step right up and get a quick fix of rumors and rampant speculation! This week, we’re poking and prodding the idea of an audio-based Nook device, a sinful, dirty device Apple could be making with actual buttons (or not), and a much more likely passing of the Galaxy SIII into the testing phase.

Barnes & Noble working on some kind of “audio Nook”

Source: The Digital Reader

Details: Not much, other than a product page for a “Nook Audio OE250” that popped up.

Likelihood: As some Gizmodo commenters pointed out, there is an ISBN number assigned to this particular phantom product, so there’s a chance it’s simply an audiobook, possibly an audiobook about the Nook. But B&N has been fairly aggressive in pushing the Nook into new markets, so an audiobook-oriented device isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibilities.

Get excited?: If, uh, listening to an audiobook on your smartphone has never worked out, or you’re looking for a Nook that does far less … you know what? Don’t get excited.

Apple working on a controller for iOS games

Source: AnandTech, mentioned briefly in an iPad review, and then picked up by Boy Genius Report.

Details: There’s purportedly an “internal project” at Apple to design an external, physical controller for the iPad and the iPhone, which have developed a rich catalog of not just casual games, but advanced games with heavy graphics and complex interactions.

Likelihood: That someone inside Apple is mucking about with it? High. Read almost any detailed profile of Steve Jobs, and take note of the company he built, and you’ll see a strong value placed on not nipping new ideas in the bud before they’ve had a chance. But the chance that this “controller” will be something familiar, like a dual-handed PS3 controller or a Wiimote? Very, very slim.

Get excited?: Apple wants to take gaming seriously, because it’s a big, growing market, especially since multiple model iPhone owners have bought up all the utility apps they already need and carried them between phones. Games, which come out frequently and fetch higher prices, are where a big profit center lies. On our end, though, I’d be excited to see what Apple comes up with, if anything ever sees the light of day.

Samsung Galaxy SIII enters carrier testing with 4.65-inch 720p screen

Source: AsiaE, which the folks at Phandroid helpfully parsed (so we can avoid scary “Silverlight is out of date” messages)

Details: It’s a big honkin’ phone with a rather crisp Super AMOLED screen, if the rumors are to believed. That’s about the same size as the Galaxy Nexus, and the purported resolution, 316 pixels per inch, inches fairly close to Apple’s justly famed Retina standards.

Likelihood: Fairly good, as April was seen as the optimistic launch date for the SIII, and May or June looks like a more reasonable target.

Get excited?: I’m fairly excited about the SIII, depending on which carriers it arrives, and how that quad-core processor impacts real-world battery.

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