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Apple patent details smart bezel for iPhone

Might not make it into the next version of the smartphone but would be an exciting feature

By MARK JONES

Published: 8 April, 2011

READ MORE: US | Apple | Handset | Tablet | iOS

There has been a steady stream of iPhone 5 rumours over the last few months, one of the most popular is that it will be featuring a bigger screen with a smaller bevel. A recently discovered patent filed by Apple suggests that the opposite may be true and details a smart bevel which would add illuminated buttons around the edge of the screen that change functionality depending on the application. For games this could lead to some interesting new control options and may aid productivity on the smartphone.

The smart bevel could potentially be used in the iPod touch as well as the next version of the iPhone offering a broad range of functions through a segmented electroluminescent display. Not only will it function as a control system but the secondary display contained within the bezel could be used to extend the user interface of any app and also to display notifications. As well the sides around the screen the technology could also be used to extend the controls to the back of the device.


Similar patents have emerged in the past and come to nothing though this one would be a compelling feature for the device. The patent has yet to be granted and there are other recent filings which include a bevel where the buttons around the display would be used to control things like volume and screen brightness.

As ever with patents it's just an indication of what Apple are planning and may not make its way into a future iPhone. A larger screen is still on the cards and though little is known for certain about the internal specs of the next iPhone 5 it's a safe bet that it will feature a dual-core processor.

While NFC is gathering momentum it seems like a feature that won't make it into the iPhone 5 according to recent rumours. There was also a patent recently filed by Apple which detailed a 3D display technology but again it's unlikely to feature in the next generation device which looks like it will be launching in June.

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