Future iPhones could be ‘squeezable’ for feature access

Future iPhones could be “squeezable,” as Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190033143) for a “mobile electronic device with squeeze protection.” 

In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that electronic devices receive input from users via a variety of different mechanisms such as buttons, touch screens, and other such input mechanisms. However, providing such input mechanisms as part of an electronic device requires space on the electronic device. Additionally, such input mechanisms may complicate the electronic device and/or the aesthetic appearance of the electronic device. 

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Apple thinks that a “squeezable” device might help with such issues. Such input would be used to wake a “sleeping” iPhone with a gentle squeeze, start playing a video with a firmer squeeze, or in gaming. 

Regarding the latter, let’s say you’re playing a motorcycle racing game. Under Apple’s scenario, you could increase the speed of your motorcycle based on how hard you squeeze the iPhone when the game is playing.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “A force sensing compliant enclosure for an electronic device may include at least one deformable housing wall. At least one strain concentration portion may be located on the deformable housing wall where strain caused by application of a force that deforms the deformable housing wall is greater than at other portions of the deformable housing wall. 

“The strain concentrating portion may have a second thickness that is thinner than other portions of the deformable housing wall. One or more sensors may be positioned in the strain concentration portion and may sense strain caused by the application of the force that deforms the deformable housing wall.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.