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Apple working on iPhone ‘Smart Bezel’ with illuminated buttons, patent suggests

April 7th, 2011 at 3:20 PM

We don’t think we’re alone when we say we kind of miss the soft welcoming glow of the red buttons on the second generation iPod, and a new patent suggests Apple may be working on a new iPhone “Smart Bezel” feature that will bring some of those illuminated controls back. According to a patent discovered by Patently Apple, Apple may offer a new area around the iPhone’s primary display with controller buttons that glow and morph for work and play. Developers may even be able to control the icons presented, which could be used to control applications — maybe even games – without interrupting the content being displayed on the screen. The secondary, “printed segmented electroluminescence” display, could be “selectively illuminated to provide one or more indicators that represented where or how a user can provide inputs to the device,” Apple’s patent states. It reminds us a bit of the technology used on the Motorola ROKR E8, which launched in 2007, and we’re definitely interested to see how this pans out. Hit the jump for more info on the patent.
The patent describes the feature as such:

Apple intends to introduce a method that employs a very cool secondary display scheme that utilizes a printed segmented electroluminescence display. Apple intends to use the secondary display to introduce a set of new illuminated indicators that are able morph into various controls for work and play. Illuminated gaming and productivity controls could be built into the face-side of the bezel and/or selected back-side areas of iOS devices like the iPad.

Via [Mac Rumors]

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