Imagine a bezel surrounding your iPhone or iPad that vanishes when you’re watching a film but reappears when it senses your digits descending near to it – and then acts as a control panel.
That’s what Apple could be working on for its next-gen touchscreen devices, going by a recent patent.
A recently-uncovered Apple patent describes an active bezel that can be used to display touch controls, act as a normal bezel edge, or be used as a full screen display. The iPad Mini is already able to detect your thumb overlapping its minimalist bezel, giving you that large screen in a small body without accidentally clicking into things every time you hold it.
This patent takes those software smarts to a new hardware level – although we've already seen bezel-free screens that conjure up a fake bezel depending on a device's configuration, most notably on Intel's North Cape reference ultrabook.
Since it’s ideal for extending the range of controls and screen size for small displays this tech would be perfect for an Apple iWatch. Plus it’ll bring Apple closer to creating a truly bezel-free screen. We can’t wait.