The buttons highlighted in Apple's patent include the power, sleep, menu, volume and multipurpose buttons that are physical on most mobile devices and are therefore prone to accidental input.
Apple's Touch ID home button uses similar technology to the technology described in this patent, though it's also used as a security measure thanks to a fingerprint scanning authentication method.
Apple iPhone 7 patents: Greater touch accuracy
Along the same lines, Apple has been awarded a patent that could help prevent accidental touch input from iPhone users on the move.
The patent describes a "variable device graphical user interface" that adapts to movement using sensors that detect patterns of motion. This could make it possible to use an iPhone while running or jogging, for example.
Apple iPhone 7 patents: Curved display
A patent has been awarded to Apple for the method of manufacturing curved touchscreens, which could mean that the iPhone 6S or other future iPhone or iPad could have a curved display like the LG G Flex 2.
Apple iPhone 7 patents: Flexible iPhone
Taking that even further, in January 2015 Apple was awarded a patent that suggests that the company is investigating the idea of a flexible iPhone (and we're not talking about the #Bendgate kind).
The Patent suggests that, by making the iPhone flexible, the user could open a specific application by bending it in a particular way, or even use the flexibility to control a game.
Additionally, by making the iPhone flexible, the device should be more resistant to impacts and therefore more durable.
Apple iPhone 7 patents: Your face is your password
In December 2014, USPTO awarded Apple a patent relating to a "personal computing device control using face detection and recognition."
With the iPhone 6 and now the Apple's latest iPads, you can unlock the device using just your fingerprint thanks to the Touch ID sensor, but with this patent, future iPhones and other devices could be unlocked using facial recognition. So effectively, your face could soon become your password.
Apple iPhone 7 patents: Advanced Touch ID fingerprint sensor
>A mammoth 612-page patent application filed by Apple in May 2014 and published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in November reveals that Apple is investigating further uses for its fingerprint sensing technology.
The Touch ID, introduced with the iPhone 5s, is just the beginning of what Apple could use the technology for. Keeping the sensor beneath the Home button but adding further functionality is one of the features Apple mentions in the patent. For example, Apple could introduce gestures to the Touch ID Home button.
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