Launched quietly on Tuesday, the Backbone consists of two components, which include the controller itself and a companion app. Currently, the controller is only available to purchase via the companion app, offered in limited “drops” to consumers through traditional retailers.
Consisting of an expandable controller, which is tall and fit around the iPhone, the Backbone One sports two analog sticks, a D-pad, four conventional buttons, and dual shoulder triggers. The base has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Lightning port for pass-through charging, while the iPhone has a Lightning connector inside the slots.
The controller also has four other buttons, all taking advantage of the various functions of the companion backbone app, aiming to make the mobile gaming platform closer to one for gaming. A bright orange backbone button insert will launch the app on the iPhone, which will support all games installed on the device, as well as other gamers who support external controllers, such as Apple Arcade.
Users are offered a dedicated button to record 1080p30 gameplay videos or take screenshots, which are stored on the iPhone and can be edited and shared on social media via the app. A third additional button is used to handle social gaming, with Tap being able to mute in-app voice chat to the app’s party feature, which is also used to track friends.
The controller running iOS 13 or later is compatible with iPhone 6 and later iPhone models. Weighing 4.87 ounces, the controller is 3.7 inches long, 1.28 inches deep and 6.94 inches contracted and extends between 10.14 inches.