Ion Audio is to add a new handheld controller for iPhone and iPod Touch to its iCade mini arcade line, along with two scaled-down versions of its original controller cabinet for the iPad, which started life as an April Fool prank. Currently on show at the company's booth at CES 2012, the iCade Mobile, iCade Core and iCade Jr. offer mobile gamers the chance to play it old school using physical buttons and a four-way controller or joystick instead of the touchscreen.

Tilting an iPhone or frantically pounding the touchscreen is fine and dandy for some mobile games but there are times when punches are needlessly taken, shots are not fired quickly enough and targets are missed. The tactile buttons and controllers of old would make life so much easier. Around this time last year, Ion Audio presented a solution to this problem called the iCade. It's a great idea and looks very cool but it isn't exactly mobile. Now Ion has added some new flavors to create a fully-fledged iCade product line.

For iPhone or iPod Touch gamers there's the iCade Mobile which is modeled loosely on the PSP. For many games on your mobile device, it's important to be able to see all of the onscreen action. The iCade Mobile helps get action-obscuring fingers out of the way by placing a four-way directional pad, four front-facing action buttons and four shoulder buttons in what's essentially a portable device dock. This dock connects to the device it hosts via Bluetooth wireless connection, and its rotating cradle allows for either portrait or landscape orientation of the iDevice.

If you prefer the bigger screen opportunities presented by the iPad, but still don't want to lug around a full-sized iCade, then the iCade Core may be of interest. The device features a specially designed cradle for Apple's tablet (which is compatible with the iPhone or iPod Touch, too), with a custom-designed pass-through slot for charging the device with a standard 30-pin cable. As with the Mobile version, the Core connects to the iDevice via Bluetooth and sports six full-size gameplay buttons on the upper face, together with a multi-directional joystick.

Finally, Ion has thrown its original iCade in the washer and used the wrong cycle - so to speak - to create the shrunken-down iCade Jr. Designed for the smaller form factors of the iPhone and iPod Touch, the Jr. still manages to house four full-size buttons and a joystick controller within its colorful cabinet, and, like the Core, features a pass-through slot for charging while you play. As with the other controllers featured here, the Jr. connects to the smartphone or media player wirelessly.

All of the new iCade products are set for a Q2 release. The iCade Mobile model is priced at US$79, the iCade Jr. will cost US$49 but we've not been given a price for the iCade Core as yet.

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