Apple is keeping busy revolutionizing its lineup. The nano-sized iPhone may not be on its way, but according to a couple of patents filed by the iOS manufacturer, some other hardware alterations may be.
Two different patents surfaced this week, reinforcing earlier rumors that Apple will develop a new smart bezel for the iPad. It appears that the improvements to the tablet paneling will allow the outer lying material to become interactive like the touchscreen itself. The bezel would allow users to touch, tap, hold, and squeeze it to interact with the device. For example, you could swipe the bezel to control volume, or quickly double-tap the iPad to wake it up. This means an iOS product could finally realize Steve Jobs’ button-free dreams.
This seems reminiscent of a concept Cult of Mac recently reported. According to developer Max Rudberg, Apple could possibly feature a way to close apps on the miniature iPhone by squeezing the sides of the device. The phone would be pressure sensitive, and this touch would trigger a software response. While it seems like the iPhone nano is dead for now, this technology might live on in a future iPad. Cue more iPad 3 rumors! What’s more, the sketches in the patent filing include a laptop-like device, so these modifications could expand past the tablet arena. According to Patently Apple, “it should be understood that the [this technology] may be implemented in a wide variety of devices, and may perform a variety of functions.”
Apple also filed a less fantastical, but very promising, patent regarding battery power. According to Apple Insider and a patent titled “Increasing Energy Density in Rechargeable Lithium Battery Cells,” Apple basically lays out steps to make its batteries last longer without making them bigger. Seeing as battery power has been one of the largest complaints from iPhone 4 users and data usage is certain to only increase, we’re going to say wise move, Apple.