Apple’s impressive new technology for the iPhone 8

“The geekerati expect the iPhone 8 to have a curved screen, to lose the home button, and to hide the Touch ID sensor under the screen,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “Are they forgetting about the other side of the smartphone? If so, what could Tim Cook be planning for the back of the iPhone?”

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.”

Read more in the full article here.

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.


  1. Don’t forget that most people have cases on their phones. How could one use the back of the phone if it’s in a case? I think this is unlikely…

    On the other hand, they could easily replace the hard volume up/down buttons with a slider like interface- as you slide your finger or thumb on the side of the phone, a volume control appears on screen to show you the live setting. That could easily work with cases (which could have a cut out as they do now for the physical buttons)…

  2. How would you handle a device that has touch-sensitive surfaces all over it? How would you hold it without activating actions you didn’t intend?

    This idea is unlikely to come to fruition.

  3. I use the physical volume buttons all the time, often I have gloves on so can’t use the touch interface and the controls on my headphones are too fiddly. Physical buttons can be used without looking. I also use it as the camera shutter, which whilst I don’t use it without looking it’s good to have an actual button that you know you’ve pressed.

  4. A case is not used to protect the front face, so why the back face. Cases should protect the sides. The back of an iPhone is HUGE unused real estate! With modern thinking and modern materials such as sapphire, which is virtually scratchproof, Apple should push a future, modern iPhone(allthewhile, ticking off the naysayers) with a modern radical design. I’d like all my useful daily widgets on one rear separate small screen. If they can reduce the weight, drops will cause less damage as long as the corners are protected.

  5. There are pros and cons on this.

    I’ve been enjoying 3D touch, despite the fact that it adds an element of complexity. On the CON side, I’ve seen some less techy users unknowingly and repeatedly tap with 3d touch when they were trying for a simple tap. Its been a positive for me but a negative for some newer users IMO.

    On the PRO side a single area on the back with a cutout area in the case (like the camera cutout) could be useful IMO. I think it could help if it defaulted to OFF in the settings, letting advanced users turn it on when they’re ready to explore.

    One other possibilty: A TouchID home button in the center of the back would allow for zero bezel and an edge to edge usable screen.

    The idea that’s been rumored about a TouchID home button embedded in the front screen would have to have to some dedicated area for home button use that’s not available for normal viewing and normal tapping.

    That seems less than ideal, and a TouchID home button on the back could be a good alternative.

  6. Why do they keep coming up with this curved screen idea, dumb, dumb, dumb, its stupid on TV’s, its foolish here.. Cases will be a pain to apply to a curved device, they won’t fit in pockets well.. Just dumb….

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