New touch-based sensors in the works.
When Apple introduced a working version of gesture-based navigation to developers in iOS 4.3 beta, rumors flew that the next iPad will do away with the Home button. However, a new patent discovered by Patently Apple suggests that the upcoming tablet might entirely be button-less.
The patent describes a new bezel developed by Apple that includes touch sensors, pressure sensors, light emitters, haptic feedback and accelerometers. These touch sensors can be made to function, for example, as volume controllers, swiping up and down to change sound level. The bezel could also be double tapped to wake-up the device, replacing the need for a Home button.
The patent filing also suggest that such technology could make it on to Apple’s MacBook Pro line up of laptops as well.
Of course, like many of Apple’s patents, there is no guarantee that it will make it to any of its commercial products. Though it does give an idea of Apple’s train of thought.