Apple has applied for a patent that would turn the bezel around an iPad screen into a smart area capable of adding functionality to the slate.
According to Patently Apple, which earlier reported on the patent application, the technology includes so-called "force sensors" that are sitting at the corners of the black bezel around a tablet display. Along the bezel, Apple would also have sensors around the bezel that would identify both pressure and location and perform an action.
The filing, which CNET also reported about here, is an interesting one. Although Apple's iPad had somewhat large bezels in the past, the company has moved away from that, trying to make the side bezels on its iPad Mini and iPad Air quite small. The images including in the filing show a thicker black bezel. It's not clear whether Apple's technology would bring back the thicker bezel or if it would find its use in other ways on a smaller bezel.
It should be noted, however, that Apple, like many other large companies, often applies for patents that never find their way into products. It's possible that this functionality could fall into that category.?