Apple smart bezel patent

Apple may have found a way to maximize display space for touch input while minimizing the size of wearable devices such as the long-rumored iWatch. What’s more, the innovation could be thanks to Kodak, a photography pioneer which Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones, largely put out of business.

In a patent granted Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple describes a touch-sensitive bezel that surrounds a device’s main display. The smart bezel is able to offer users additional space for a display area or even cover portions of a display, providing greater flexibility…

The patent, entitled “Electronic device, display and touch-sensitive user interface,” describes a display with two portions. The first part is the active viewing area while a second half is a covered second portion.

According to Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,477,114:

A sensor system senses when a person is close to touching the bezel or when a person is in touch with the bezel and generates a sensor signal; and a controller is operable to adjust the appearance of the active area in the part of the second portion when the controller determines that a person has touched the bezel or is close to touching the bezel.

The patent appears to be part of a portfolio of Kodak technology Apple recently purchased from the image maker. The idea of a smart bezel also appears as Apple has begun trademarking the “iWatch” name in a number of countries, including Mexico, Taiwan, Japan and Russia.

  • Rockwell mellow

    Might be good for games controls

  • Yunsar

    I think Kodak used this in their digital photo frame which used a “touch border” user interface, and, I think Apple is using this in the upcoming iPhone 5S. Just recently there was an article which said that Apple is developing a technology which makes the glass on the fingerprint scanner change colour from clear to dark (to make the fingerprint sensor appear when needed). Maybe Apple is planning to use it for this reason.

  • Gorgonphone

    could be great if edge touches could trigger actions but then accidental touches will be e problem also

  • Steve Jones

    But touch sensitive bezels have been part of many tablets and phones since a long time! Now that Apple has patented it, no other company can use them 🙁

  • Grande PHD

    I think it has something to do with that new killer feature related to fingers and scanners.

  • Mojo_LA

    I’ve been waiting for the Smart Bezel for years, since this patent was first announced years ago! It means you could assign buttons and controls to ANYWHERE on the bezel. You want the fire button to be on this part of the bezel? You got it. Volume controls over here, where your fingers feel most comfortable? Done. Not only will it be more comfortsble, it means we won’t have to keep covering the screen with our fingers to press buttons. Bring it on, the sooner the better!