Apple Patent Suggests Next iPad Could Have Pressure-Sensitive Bezels

by Dale Wright

Apple Bezel Patent

Apple’s iPads are famed for their impressive touch sensitivity but up until now, that’s been restricted to the tablets’ screens.  That could all be about to change, as a patent filed by Apple has emerged, showing potential pressure-sensitive bezel technology for future devices.

The patent application was only published yesterday (30 January) so this technology is probably in fairly early stages.  Apple’s ‘Gesture and Touch Input Detection through Force Sensing’ seems to suggest that upcoming devices could have sensors built into the bezel at the edge of iPads or iPhones.  These sensors would be able to detect when pressure was applied, and could even tell the difference between someone pushing hard or just touching the surface lightly.

Apple iPad Bezel Could Become Touch-Sensitive

Apple says that current touch-sensitive displays are not good enough at recognising multi-finger gestures, especially if users swipe in from the edge of the screen.

The pressure-sensitive bezel feature could mean that users would be able to play an iPhone or iPad game just by touching the bezel on the outside of the display, so their fingers wouldn’t obscure any of the screen.  There would also be the possibility that Apple could remove the physical buttons from upcoming iPad models, and instead just have pressure sensitive areas on the bezel of the tablet to turn it on or change the volume.

While this technology is probably not something we’ll see in the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro – to be released later this year – it definitely seems like an innovation that would be welcome in future devices.  The pressure-sensors will require a lot of testing and honing, and Apple will have to figure out how many it can include in one device without compromising the weight.  So this isn’t something to think about any time soon, but we’re definitely hoping for it in the future.