The latest patent published by Apple may give us some insight about what that company is planning for the future of its touch-based devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch). According to the patent, while the current generation devices are limited to input based on touch sensitive displays or front screens, subsequent models may contain touch and a variety of other sensors which will enable the devices to determine a ‘user profile’ or mood or usage scenario based on how the user is holding the device, or other factors relating to the environment of the device.

apple touch patent - Touch Sensors Everywhere On Your iPad, iPhone
(Image Credit : 9to5Mac)

Imagine this – You’re holding your iPad in your left hand, and when it gets tired, you shift it to your right hand. As soon as you perform this action, all the controls for the current application adjust themselves to the left of the screen, so that they are conveniently accessible to your left hand.

The touch sensors may also remove the need for buttons such as the hold button. Your device becomes active as soon as you pick it up, and goes to hold when you keep it down. This behavior could obviously be modified.

User profiles based on touch patterns have also been detailed. Profiles and settings can automatically be loaded by detecting how the device is being held, which hands are being used, and in which manner. Also, the accelerometer based ‘screen orientation’ can be modified to use these touch based inputs to detect a more accurate screen orientation.

Though it isn’t clear right now whether Apple is going to use this at all in its future generation devices, but it certainly details a technology that will make devices more intelligent and ‘personal’. The possibilities from such back-side sensing devices may also open a whole new world of interaction for apps too, similar to the 6 axis-orientation based functions opened up by the new gyro included in the iPhone 4 and now the iPod Touch.