One look at the iPad Air and you can easily tell how Apple was able to make it so much thinner than every previous iPad. The landscape bezel is significantly slimmer. The reduction in finger space is well worth the cost to have a lighter tablet. However, the missing edge can cause accidental actions in some instances. Personally, I’ve only noticed that error once or twice in the past few months. It has happened, though. According to a new patent from Apple, there may be a time in the future when the iPad will shrink even smaller in size and the bezel won’t even be an issue thanks to smart sensor technology that would detect whether the screen was being touched for action, or simple being held.
The technology, called “Force Sensing” would allow gestures like swipes to still work when directed off of the screen, but would actually allow for some interactions, like scrolling, to take place in the bezel area.
Virtual buttons could be used to detect a force signal corresponding to an object exerting force on it. Basically, the iPad would know how hard you were pushing, so it would know whether you are trying to perform an action or simply holding the device.
The technology in this patent might make it possible for Apple to use the bezel to its advantage to make certain controls that normally appear on the screen hidden from view. For example, you could use the side of the tablet to swipe downward to scroll or press on the corner to trigger a function. At the same time, the Force Sensing would detect when you were holding the device and not activate touch gestures.
If Apple ever did make such technology, it probably won’t be implemented into tablet devices for a few more years.