The USPTO’s regular release of patents allows the public to see some of the ideas that Apple and other manufacturers are working on. The latest batch from Cupertino includes the delightfully sounding “Electronic Devices with Display and Touch Sensor Structures”.
This patent describes a technique where touch sensors can be placed around any side of a device allowing for new input sources.
The patent also notes that physical buttons (such as the volume controls) could be replaced by these embedded touch sensors.
In essence Apple could drop the current buttons and move towards touch-enabled areas on the device for the existing UI.
It could also open up areas for new UI paradigms, such as using the back of the smartphone for quick scrolling or page turning.
Using the rear of a portable device is not a new concept. Sony’s last handheld gaming console, the PS Vita, employed a touch panel that was effectively to the rear of the screen.
This was used in various games to change where a character looked, to act as a ‘flappy paddle’ gear shift in driving games, extra virtual buttons at each corner of the touch pad, or whatever the game designers required.
Source : Internet