updated 10:54 am EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Could compliment future touchscreen devices
Apple was won a US patent on a pressure-sensitive housing concept for electronics, notes AppleInsider. The technology can be used to issue commands to a device by squeezing or pressing different parts of it. Apple remarks that it could be a convenient complement to a touchscreen, letting people issue commands when their fingers are already on the screen, or when sweat or other factors might make it difficult for a screen to register input.
Housing could potentially register both the pressure and the electrical capacitance of a person's grip. One application of this would be preventing a command from being triggered accidentally, by requiring that both a charge and pressure be applied at the same time. As for the kind of devices Apple might apply pressure sensitivity to, the company suggests everything from phones and iPods to notebook keyboards.
Apple first filed for the patent in 2009. The concept has yet to appear in a shipping product, and may be unlikely to, given the company's overall shift towards unibody aluminum housing.