Apple applies for 'smart bezel' patent for iPads

The technology would bring sensors to the device's bezel, effectively adding more gestures and touch inputs to areas not typically in-use on current-generation slates.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Apple has applied for a patent that would turn the bezel around an iPad screen into a smart area capable of adding functionality to the slate.

According to Patently Apple, which earlier reported on the patent application, the technology includes so-called "force sensors" that are sitting at the corners of the black bezel around a tablet display. Along the bezel, Apple would also have sensors around the bezel that would identify both pressure and location and perform an action.

The filing, which CNET also reported about here, is an interesting one. Although Apple's iPad had somewhat large bezels in the past, the company has moved away from that, trying to make the side bezels on its iPad Mini and iPad Air quite small. The images including in the filing show a thicker black bezel. It's not clear whether Apple's technology would bring back the thicker bezel or if it would find its use in other ways on a smaller bezel.

It should be noted, however, that Apple, like many other large companies, often applies for patents that never find their way into products. It's possible that this functionality could fall into that category.