The small size of the Apple Watch meant the Cupertino firm had to come up with a new way of interacting with it, rather than relying almost entirely on a touchscreen, as it does with the iPad and iPhone.
One of the best solutions it came up with was the Digital Crown, which was essentially a supercharged home button, allowing users to zoom in and out, scroll through text, change the volume and a whole lot more, all by tapping or rotating it.
It makes a lot of sense on the Apple Watch, where achieving the same with taps and swipes on the screen could be an exercise in futility, but a newly published patent dug up byPatently Apple suggests it might one day make its way to the iPad or iPhone too.
According the patent it could be used for similar things here as on the Apple Watch, allowing you adjust the volume, resize text, snap a photo or lock the touchscreen.
In the attached images, which hopefully aren’t to scale, it looks completely ridiculous and oversized, but even with a less intrusive design we’re not sure it would be Apple’s brightest idea.
There is something to be said for physical buttons, as they can offer handy shortcuts to actions, but the iPad already has volume buttons, we’ve never found ourselves wishing for a Digital Crown to take pictures with and resizing text is something most people would so rarely want to do that a shortcut really isn’t necessary.
No more borders
So you can probably file this firmly under ‘crazy things that are never going to happen’, but there is one other notable thing in the patent, namely a mention of devices with no border region, with the front surface taken up entirely by a touchscreen.
That’s worth highlighting as it’s recently been rumored that Apple could ditch the bezel on future iPhones and build Touch ID right into the screen, so this is more evidence for that, just don’t expect it on the iPhone 7.