Apple's Original 2006 Smart Bezel Invention that Introduced Force Touch Sensors has finally been Granted
Over the years Apple has filed for several patents regarding smart bezels for the iPad. One of the most detailed surfaced back in 2011. Another patent filing that surfaced in 2014 advanced the use of force touch sensors incorporated into a device bezel. Today's granted patent that was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is actually Apple's original smart bezel invention that was published in 2010 yet filed in 2006, prior to the original iPhone. Even back then Apple was experimenting with force touch sensors which first came to market this year when Apple introduced their new MacBook with a Force Touch trackpad. Now that they've achieved bringing Force Touch to a MacBook, will Apple now bring this to a future iPad as this granted patent suggests? Only time will tell.
Granted Patent Title: Electronic Device having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to an electronic device having a display and a surrounding touch sensitive bezel for user interface and control.
In one example shown in Apple's patent FIG. 11 noted above, an embodiment of an electronic device 530 (now known as an iPad) could have a touch sensitive bezel #550 around a display #540. In addition, the electronic device could have one or more additional touch sensitive pads or surfaces #560 incorporated throughout various sides of the device's housing. These additional touch sensitive pads could be used to detect location caused by a user touching the pads and/or could be used to detect force caused by a user pressing the pads. The additional touch sensitive pads could be positioned along the edges of the housing #532 and could be positioned on the back of the housing as well.
Any user controls designated for areas #562 on these additional touch sensitive pads may be preconfigured and may not be change during operation. In this way, the user may know the functionality of the various pads and could use the areas to control features of the device without the need of any visual guides #542 on the display.
Apple credits Nick King, Duncan Kerr, Paul Herbst and Steven Hotelling as the inventors of granted patent 9,047,009 which was filed in Q2 2009 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The original patent filing dates back to 2006.
To review Apple's original patent filing and graphics, see our 2010 report here.
About our Cover Graphic: Our cover graphic presents patent figures 13c and 14. Apple's patent 13c represents a touch sensitive bezel having a plurality of conductive pads, a control module, and sensors. Apple's patent figure 14 illustrates an embodiment of a touch sensitive bezel having force detection and location layers.
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