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  • iPads to Have Touch-Sensitive Bezels?


    One of the most widely panned features of the new iPad was the ginormous black border that surrounds its 9.7" screen. While it is necessary to have a place to hold the 1.5 pound device while you're using it, many thought that the thick bezel was unsightly and broke with the design tradition of the iPhone/iPod touch family. However, an Apple patent back in 2006 described a device with a touch-sensitive bezel, and Patently Apple went back to take a look at the technology that might enable an "intelligent bezel" on some future model of the iPad.

    Currently, the iPad's touchscreen functions like any other Apple touch device: you tap icons, use swipes and other gestures to interact with apps, and watch the result on the same screen. What the smart bezel would do is provide a control plane off the display so that it wouldn't be necessary to take up any screen real estate for buttons or labels. The patent describes how specific areas or locations on the bezel would be used for controls like MENU, UP, DOWN, PLAY, etc. These could either come with labels or icons on the display itself adjacent to the control areas (which kind of eliminates part of the reason for the smart bezel) or "be in a logical or predetermined location on the bezel that the user may know or expect."

    The patent also describes ways that the tablet could sense that the user is just holding the device with the bezel rather than trying to use the controls. Just contacting the bezel wouldn't be enough: you'd have to make a tap or other gesture. And after a time limit that's set on the device, it just starts ignoring areas that you are constantly in contact with, assuming that you're using the bezel as a grip.

    Apple is thinking ahead here to a whole new vocabulary of touch gestures. We already know to swipe across the screen in Cover Flow mode to page through, for example, so it's not too far fetched that they could have it in mind that controls could just be built into the bezel so the device can function full-screen. With this patent and the previously revealed patent that describes a capacitive back case, we can get a glimpse of a future where it's not just the screen that's touch-sensitive: it's the whole device.

    image via Patently Apple
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iPads to Have Touch-Sensitive Bezels? started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 17 Comments
    1. unbeatable's Avatar
      unbeatable -
      awsome
    1. reggie6801's Avatar
      reggie6801 -
      Just when you start losing faith in apple, they surprise us once again.. what a great idea if it is actually implemented down the line...
    1. jdm.accord's Avatar
      jdm.accord -
      Isn't this just a recycled rumor that was posted about the 4G iPhone a few weeks back. Seems like its the same patent/picture about the bezel/back being touch-sensitve.
    1. Sinful Ryan's Avatar
      Sinful Ryan -
      ^^ I have to agree
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Off-topic, but I don't care: anyone think that maybe, just maybe, Apple didn't reveal ALL of the iPad's features, either in the keynote or in the OS itself, just because it has features that the iPhone may use as well? Like backgrounding for example: Let's say iPhone 4.0 is gonna have backgrounding using a desktop format (apps run in the background, switch between them using a dock or desktop icons). The iPad's larger screen would be perfect for a DIFFERENT backgrounding style: pinch in with all five fingers to activate app "Exposť." They wouldn't want to reveal a new feature shared with the new iPhone OS because that would ruin the anticipation. I'm thinking it could quite possible that this iPad could still have a front-facing camera in it, but they didn't reveal it in the keynote because the next iPhone will, too.
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      yeah. considering the last few weeks of rumors, i am going to avoid all rumors like this. it's just gonna build hype that nothing will ever live up to. sigh...
    1. moribo's Avatar
      moribo -
      I am starting to get a little bored with all the rumour around atm. I think I will wait for any Apple announcements. That said; making stuff up is fun :P I heard a rumour Apple might be selling up to Microsoft!
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
      Apple didn't reveal ALL of the iPad's features, Like backgrounding for example:
      ipad is just a chunk of hardware. the OS determines what the ipad can and cannot do.
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Quote Originally Posted by lolcats1 View Post
      ipad is just a chunk of hardware. the OS determines what the ipad can and cannot do.
      Oh yeah I forgot about that time I downloaded that GPS chip to my iPod touch
    1. cardinalsrule109's Avatar
      cardinalsrule109 -
      That would be an awesome hardware feature.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
      Off-topic, but I don't care: anyone think that maybe, just maybe, Apple didn't reveal ALL of the iPad's features, either in the keynote or in the OS itself, just because it has features that the iPhone may use as well? Like backgrounding for example: Let's say iPhone 4.0 is gonna have backgrounding using a desktop format (apps run in the background, switch between them using a dock or desktop icons). The iPad's larger screen would be perfect for a DIFFERENT backgrounding style: pinch in with all five fingers to activate app "Exposť." They wouldn't want to reveal a new feature shared with the new iPhone OS because that would ruin the anticipation. I'm thinking it could quite possible that this iPad could still have a front-facing camera in it, but they didn't reveal it in the keynote because the next iPhone will, too.
      I thought about that too. I would think they would want to put all the features out there during the unveiling. Its quite possible that Apple will have another event in mid-march to introduce 4.0 and the 4.0 beta to developers and at that time throw down some new features to the iPad right before release. However I think everything will be on the software end, I don't believe they will add a hardware feature like a camera.
    1. iLaw-One's Avatar
      iLaw-One -
      Agreed. But we'll all just have to wait and see when 4.0 is released.
    1. gunnysir's Avatar
      gunnysir -
      One of the Kodak Digital Frames has this feature and it is very cool. Apple could easily do this with the bezel.
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
      Oh yeah I forgot about that time I downloaded that GPS chip to my iPod touch
      erm, last time i checked you can't use an ipod as a gps, only when you're in wifi.

      last time i checked.
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Quote Originally Posted by lolcats1 View Post
      erm, last time i checked you can't use an ipod as a gps, only when you're in wifi.

      last time i checked.
      It's called sarcasm...he was correcting your statement.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by pauldanielash View Post
      One of the most widely panned features of the new iPad was the ginormous black border that surrounds its 9.7" screen. While it is necessary to have a place to hold the 1.5 pound device while you're using it, many thought that the thick bezel was unsightly and broke with the design tradition of the iPhone/iPod touch family.
      Comparatively this bezel really isn't that different tot hat of the iphone/touch. The bottom and top of the iphone/touch have always been thick, they just added a bit to the sides comparatively.

      Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
      Off-topic, but I don't care: anyone think that maybe, just maybe, Apple didn't reveal ALL of the iPad's features, either in the keynote or in the OS itself, just because it has features that the iPhone may use as well? Like backgrounding for example: Let's say iPhone 4.0 is gonna have backgrounding using a desktop format (apps run in the background, switch between them using a dock or desktop icons). The iPad's larger screen would be perfect for a DIFFERENT backgrounding style: pinch in with all five fingers to activate app "Exposť." They wouldn't want to reveal a new feature shared with the new iPhone OS because that would ruin the anticipation. I'm thinking it could quite possible that this iPad could still have a front-facing camera in it, but they didn't reveal it in the keynote because the next iPhone will, too.
      IMO no. Backgrounding is probably a no simply because, to my knowledge, it is not spoken of in the SDK for the ipad. That is a feature that they would want people making use of if it were to be implemented on launch, I would think.
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      thats a very nice concept