Could the bezel-touchpad hybrid described in a patent awarded to Apple on Tuesday find its way onto the iPhone 5S? U.S. patent No. 8,477,114, titled “Electronic device, display and touch-sensitive user interface,” details how the company could implement a touch-sensitive border around the display for added controls and gestures.
Recently leaked pictures of the iPhone 5S depict a device that looks almost exactly the same as the current iPhone 5, suggesting we won’t see any huge changes to the handset’s design or capabilities. But according to Apple’s patent, the touchpad-bezel would be hidden in plain sight, only lighting up when embedded sensors detect a nearby finger.
This isn’t the first time Apple has been awarded a similar patent, but the latest touchpad design doesn’t exactly line up with earlier versions, which used a touchscreen in the same spot, and also draws from technology the company acquired through Kodak. Based on images from the filing, the touchpad-bezel will be implemented in future iPhones and iPads, but the technology would also be well suited to Apple’s rumored iWatch, where it could help make use of the minimal space available and might look pretty cool too.