Following numerous rumors that Apple wants to do away with the home button on iOS devices, it has filed a patent that could do just that.

Just last month we reported that rumors were circulating that Apple would like to do away with the home button on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.  More fuel was added to that fire when the beta of iOS 4.3 was released and it included all sorts of new gesture controls.  While it seemed rather a fanciful concept, a new patent has hit the US Patent & Trademark Office today that surely makes it look like this is more than speculation.

According to the filings obtained by Patently Apple, Apple has come up with a new “smart bezel” for a device like the iPad where you would control the device by touching various different regions of the frame, and do other things via gestures written into the operating system.


The patent goes on to describe other uses for the technology in devices such as laptops, but the primary illustrations definitely seem to be centered around the iPad.  This new interface would allow you to do things such as adjust the brightness, raise & lower the volume and double tap it to turn it off.

Considering the iPad 2 is due for release at any time now, it seems doubtful that this would make it’s way into the second iteration of the device, but it is a possibility.  There is also a chance that this would never make its way into any device as companies are known for patenting technologies that they will never use just to license them to other companies.  While out gut feeling is that we will see this eventually, there’s just not telling when, and Apple could always come up with a totally different concept in the meantime.

What say you?  Do you like the concept of the smart bezel?

[via 9to5 Mac, source Patently Apple]