The patent shows several physical devices, which act as cases for portable electronic devices such as an iPhone for example. These have physical buttons and D-pads. There is even one design that looks just like a Nintendo DS where the iPhone acts as one of two screens.
As this is just a patent filing, it will be intriguing if these ideas ever see the light of day commercially. The explosion of mobile gaming the iPhone has finally brought on however appears to have created a new market and Apple seems to be keen on capitalizing on it.