A new Apple “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,” Spence writes. “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.”
“A patent does not guarantee that a technique will show up on the next hardware release. It doesn’t even guarantee that the hardware will ever see the light of day,” Spence writes. “So let’s take this as a case of Taniyama-Shimura, because Apple does enjoy the challenge the normal use of a device to create new technological solutions that drive the imagination, A rear touch panel does meet that requirement.”
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MacDailyNews Take: Apple generally doesn’t like to complicate, especially in the input department. Any added input to the rear of the iPhone would have to be drop-dead obvious to Joe and Jane Sixpack for Apple to undertake such a change.