Apple is well known as a pioneer in mobile technology, but that doesn’t mean the company has ever been shy about taking inspiration from the best ideas of its competitors.
A new report has suggested that future iPhones may be about to take another leaf from the book of Apple’s Android-powered rivals, as the Cupertino-based electronics giant has just filed a patent for squeeze detection technology.
The Mobile Electronic Device with Squeeze Detection patent describes a future handset that features a “deformable housing wall” that would allow the device to detect variable levels of pressure applied to its edges, using this as an input to trigger various applications and shortcut features.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because this is the same principle that powers Google’s Active Edge and HTC’s Edge Sense technology, which have been featured in recent handsets such as the Pixel 2 and HTC U11. These allow users to activate the camera, launch an app or access Google Assistant, simply by squeezing the sides of the phone.
It would be expected that Apple’s use of the technology would be broadly similar, providing the manufacturer with an alternative way of activating Siri or changing the volume level that avoids the need for unnecessary physical buttons.
As with competitor devices, it is also likely that these squeeze sensors would be pressure-sensitive, similar to the 3D Touch capabilities that are already incorporated into iPhone screens. This means users will be able to access different options depending upon the amount of pressure they exert.
Although this patent offers a potential glimpse at the future of iPhone design, it remains to be seen whether or not the company will move ahead with including this technology in its next generation of handsets. Fans of the brand will therefore be watching keenly to see whether the feature resurfaces when the next iPhone is unveiled later this year.