In the future iPhone, a side touch panel with virtual buttons may appear to activate various functions, as well as a fingerprint reading area. The corresponding patent application was published on the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office.
In 2016, Apple registered a patent for the iPhone in a glass case with a curved display. Thanks to the presence of a touch-side edge on the smartphone, it was planned to implement virtual buttons to control a number of functions. A new patent is a more realistic version of this idea.
The mini-display shows active icons, and the menu is customizable. It will also house a fingerprint reading pad, but it’s unclear whether Apple will limit it to the size or make the entire side part of one large fingerprint scanner. Thanks to 3D Touch technology, the system can respond differently to different pressures, and users will feel a vibration feedback.
The document was submitted for registration in the fourth quarter of 2017. Considering that this is just a patent application, the output of a real smartphone with such a solution remains in question.