After what seemed like an eternity of waiting as we followed the iControlPad's development, we finally got our hands on one not too long ago. We mentioned a few issues that we had with the device which mostly were due to the way the current iControlPad firmware handled sending controls to the iPhone compared to how the iCade works. (This was all detailed in the previous article.) However, one of the strong suits of the iControlPad is that it seems to have an infinitely updatable firmware, and the developers behind the device recently released an update to make the iControlPad behave a lot more like the iCade-- Potentially alleviating most of the issues we had with the device's functionality.

To get the firmware update, head on over to the support section of the iControlPad site and follow the instructions. Alternatively, if you prefer watching a tutorial video to reading, the guys behind the iControlPad have got you covered on that front too:

Once you've got your iControlPad all flashed to the new firmware, it should behave just like a iCade and allow you to use the iControlPad when playing the various iCade-enabled games. This new firmware option might also quicken adoption of the device, as now developers can focus on one standard across both the iControlPad and the iCade instead needing to deal with one or the other (or both).

In light of this update news, they've dropped the price of the device to $49.99 for TouchArcade readers. To get in on this deal, order through this link. This special pricing will be good until Monday, at which point it will return to its normal price of $74.99.

  • Relytgninroht

    I'd buy it if it looked more aesthetically pleasing or if it were like $30. $50 is still way too much. Any word on the Gamebone controller? It was supposed to come out sometime this year.

    • Chris Mader

      When you consider that Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers can cost between $30 and $60 (or more), $50 doesn't seem that bad. Especially when you consider that this is a low production run unit. I hope it does well. Devices like this could potentially change the iPhone from a gaming novelty to a legitimate gaming platform.

      • Relytgninroht

        My main issue isn't the price- it's the build quality. If it were more sleek and higher quality looking I'd be fine with the price.

      • Johnny Ice

        The build quality is great. It's all made in Germany, and assembled in the UK. This isn't a cheap Chinese knockoff. The device is solid, and amazing. 

      • Anonymous

        At first I was also a bit taken back by the looks of it in pictures, but it does look a lot better in the videos that I have seen. I think that it was nice of them to design it to not pick up fingerprints anyway.

      • Danny Perski

        This is not a game controller, it is an attachment for your phone that has buttons. And, from what I can tell, it doesn't look like a very sleek or well built product. 

      • Johnny Ice

        Danny, you are completely wrong. Don't post ignorant comments without looking at the facts. It IS a game controller. You can hold it just like any controller if you have it paired with your iPad or Mac. It also comes with clamps that you can then attach to your phone to make it like a PSP while on the go. It is well built, and sleek too. I've had one for about 4 weeks and it's a game changer. I haven't played  touch screen game since. 

      • Axzc

        Looks like crap to me

      • Adams Immersive

        Looks fine to me, but would be nicer in a color, so the black controls stood out.

      • Groove Stomp

        So, you have one at home that you've used?
        I think it's quite sleek looking.  Of course we'll all have to wait to try one before we can comment on the build quality, but nothing looks obviously bad.

        I guess it's not a game controller in the same way that my iPod usb cable isn't a usb cable because it attaches to my iPod instead of a "regular" usb device.

    • Anonymous

      I'm pretty sure the Gamebone is dead.  The company doesn't even mention it on their website anymore, and there haven't been any announcements in like 6 months.

    • Johnny Ice

      The gamebone project is dead. It was a poor design. It could only fit a specific size phone in it. If you buy a bigger iPhone 5 you'd have to throw it out. How is $50 too much? A ps3 controller is $50 in stores and they make a billion of them. 
      The iControlpad is made by a small team in England that had to develop and pay for this themselves out of pocket. Stop being cheap and support people who spend 4 years of their lives to make an awesome product. 

      • Kevpev25

        Well Johnny the price is too much because after Monday it goes to $75.

      • ...Me?

        Solution, buy it before Monday >.>

      • Olgakur

        Hey Johnny ... from an old newsletter I received about the Gamebone, the controller can be used with a changable core / center for different devices. 22Moo says that will have a a dummy core that allows connecting to any iOS device with 30 pin cable. I've bought myself an iControlpad and quite happy with it (especially now with iCade support).

    • Phil

      The gamebone can only run gameboy style games, there isnt an anolog stick or anything like that on it. BQ, can you play games like modern combat 2 with this controller?

    • Olgakur

      Sent 22Moo an e-mail about GameBone and Michelle has said the GameBone is currently awaiting approval to move to mass production.

  • bigrand1

    Is this compatible with the ipod touch? Also, interested in the Gamebone as well.

  • Tazek

    Is it compatible to iPhone 3GS? Is it compatible to Final Fantasy Tactics?

    • Johnny Ice

      @Tazek, its' a bluetooth controller. Yes it will work with your 3GS. It will not work with FFT though. The developer would have to write some code to support it in their apps. Once more dev's get on board there will be more app store support. New officiall app store games are being added all the time. Check the icontrolpad website for a currently updated list. 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks to TouchArcade and the iControlPad guys for the special price!

    • Anonymous

      I wasn't completely sold on it anyways so that's pretty much a deal breaker. 

      • Anonymous

        I was thinking along the lines that It would be as if I got free shipping with the original device. It sure would beat the normal pricing.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I was all set to buy this.. then it come up as 80 bucks.  I keep trying to convince myself to bite, but I really don't think I will.  50 bucks is acceptable.. 80 is not.

      Edit: I was talking about it being 80 after shipping to US, if that wasn't clear.

  • SmashD

    Shipping costs to Germany, VAT(why???) and there you go from 50 to 88 something USD - no, thanks...

    • Werner Ruotsalainen

      Yup, they should drop at least VAT or accordingly (further) decrease the price. Also, include the universal holder in the iControlPad + Side Clamp Set package. Now, it's just too expensive for mainland Europe users.

      Interestingly, there's no VAT for US costumers, only for European ones - WTF?!

      • Eric5h5

        US customers never pay VAT on anything, because there's no VAT in the US.  Nothing to be surprised about.

      • Werner Ruotsalainen

        Yeah, I know, it's just that we Europeans almost always end up having to pay more than the US folks for exactly the same stuff - this is why I've been mourning...

  • Sleepy83

    As much as I would like to buy one with TA's special price point, the price point is still a bit too high for my liking, especially for a 3rd Party product with no previous experience.

    $50 is a reasonable price point for 1st Party controllers that are official Sony or Microsoft; they are always of much better quality than that of 3rd party controllers like Madcatz, Pelican, etc.

    Looks like I'm still waiting for Apple to release their own BT Controller.

    • Anonymous

      That's not true at all. The guys that made this device are the same ones who made the pandora handheld system, a powerful open source linux device. They have a bit of experience developing a good quality built handheld system. And this device is no different. D-pad and buttons are well built and good quality overall, not like those crappy 3rd party console controllers by crappy companies like madcatz and pelican. Just because 3rd party console controller makers do a poor job, it doesn't automatically mean it's going to be the same situation with every company that developes hardware for another system...that's just...silly.

      It's a well built system. Only thing I don't like is the way I have to put the iPhone in. Would have been much nicer if I was able to just slide it in. Taking the clamps off can be a pain at times. I think they need to make a clamp that allows the iPhone to slide in. It's not like I'm going to take the iControlpad everywhere I go, only at home, and when I do use it, I just use it for a little while, so a quick slide in mechanism wouldchave been a much better choice.

      Maybe one day a company will make a slide out case for the iPhone with a controlpad in it. Would make it like the Xperia phone. They already have slide out keyboards for the iPhone, I think it's time for a slide out controlpad 🙂

      • Johnny Ice

        @Telltales:disqus  - look at the picture at the top of the article. You don't need the side clamps anymore. They now offer an adjustable clamp that attaches in the rear of the device and is adjustable up and down to fit any style iOS or Android phone. It's much more simplified than buying side clamps for hundreds of different phone models. The article mentioned the new firmware update which works great with some app store games, but failed to mention the new clamp device which really makes it more universal to a broader audience. 

      • Sleepy83

        Silly is trying to belittle my opinion when it's a proven fact that every 1st party controller is always better than any 3rd party controller that comes out for a specific game system. With that fact in mind and not being able to see one in person, of course I'm going to be skeptical or any non-official controller, especially with one charging as much as a 1st Party controller would, if not more when sold at regular price of $75!(lol) Especially again, when they have "little" experience at hardware, one being an obscure handheld which not many people have played; I have heard of the Pandora system, but know no one who has ever played with one. If I had money to burn maybe I would take a leap of faith and try out the hardware once it had more support from big companies.

        Because besides my reservations about the hardware quality, the system has very little firmware support at the moment and nothing from big game companies like EA or Gameloft etc, which also makes swallowing the cost for this item all the more harder.

        If and when this controller is more supported and the price point is at $60 including shipping, then I'll bite. But I have a feeling Apple will release their own controller by that time that will be fully supported; hopefully I'm wrong.

      • bigrand1

        Well, I'll wait if or when Apple puts one out. Way too expensive when you consider this doesn't work with all IOS games. Really, why bother? And I agree most third party controlers are crap in the end. Whatever. I'm not gonna waste money on it.

  • shamyou

    looks like a big piece of tarmac thats fallen of the highway. secondly the price is a joke. you could buy a pre owned current gen console, complete with joypad and a game for that price... or this contraption.

    while not an exactly fair comparison of course. but really, whos going to spend so much money on this when you can still play any game without it.

    • Anonymous

      If you have tried to play any of the emulators with the default on screen controls then you will definitely appreciate the buttons. Many of the old school NES/SNES games required the precision that you will never get with touch controls

  • Werner Ruotsalainen

    Having found out that I don't need the side clamps anymore (that is, $10 less) and that Megaworm (one of my fav games) is also supported, I've ordered the new version with the universal holder. Thanks for the heads-up!

  • IntoBeing

    I was going to buy one, until I found out that the shipping to USA is $25. WTF?

  • bigrand1

    Hey, Johnny Ice, please tell me if it's compatible with the ipod touch! There may be others wanting to know as well! Thanks!

    • Olgakur

      I can confirm it works on the iPod touch 3G and 4G 🙂

      • bigrand1

        Does it have a nice fit, or is it loose being that it's thinner/ Just asking.

  • Decoy Octopus

    What a waist of money. $80 when you add in Shipping cost for a device that has buttons. No thanks. I will put this money towards the PSP VITA.

  • Anonymous

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  • Eric Harris

    I went ahead and ordered it with the new universal clamp.  I use an ipod touch generation 4 which obviously is thinner.  I'm hoping with the new clamp with rubber foam on the inside I will beable to get it nice and snug.

  • Ross Hudgins

    I have one of these, build quality is good, it's a pleasure to use.  It's kinda expensive once you get it to Canada/USA, but you can use it with any BT phone or your computer (any app that allows mapping of buttons).  Hopefully they can get a North American distributor lined up soon, it'll help sales for sure.
    Also has a 'media mode' so you can play/pause, skip tracks/rw/ff music on your iPhone, which is kinda neat...much better than fumbling with the touchscreen while in the car.
    It's either the iControlpad, or the iCade...and I'm a bigger fan of gamepads than arcade buttons (the iCade doesn't seem comfortable over long gaming periods), plus this is way more portable, and works with more games, I think.  Well, and I don't have an iPad, the iCade would suck for the iPhone, I think.
    Ideally Apple puts out their own controller (would be $100+ easily) and SDK, but we all know that'll never happen.  Apple hates buttons.
    As long as your game supports touch controls, you can also add support for iCP.  So Apple won't be shutting this down anytime soon.  Good gaming times!

  • GlennX

    The point is, it's now compatible with iCade, this is good for both products because developers are going to be more likely to support a joystick. Of course, if Apple really wanted to encourage this they'd adopt it as the joystick standard and add support to the iOS emulator for developers. If I could play the simulator version of my game through a PS3 joypad support for iCade/ICP would just happen.

    • Apocalypse_2001

      Apple would never endorse something as fugly as that as an official device. They would probably design their own before that happened.

  • Hymanator

    For those of you complaining about shipping to USA. There is now a guy on EBay that is selling brand new icontrolpads with universal clamps. The shipping is much cheaper this way. He is also selling the clamps by themself if you have an icontrolpad already. I personally love using the icontrolpad with the sensation android phone.