It's time for our daily dose of iPhone rumours. This time the whisper on the grapevine is that Apple is working on a 'Smart Bezel' feature that will see the area around the iPhone turn into an secondary context-sensitive control area.
Apple has just pushed through a patent application for the tech involved, with suggestions that Apple is lining up the feature for the very next iPhone, set to be announced in just a couple of months' time.
The Smart Bezel system creates four touch-sensitive strips around the main display which can be used as illuminated controller buttons, offering different functions depending on the application you're using at the time and without interrupting the content being displayed on-screen.
Or, as Apple's patent application puts it, the technology creates an area that could be “selectively illuminated to provide one or more indicators that represented where or how a user can provide inputs to the device”.
We can certainly see how the technology could come in handy. Gaming in particular would be transformed, with the iPhone effectively turning into a touch-controlled console.
Of course, none of that suggests the feature will actually make it onto the iPhone 5 – Apple is one of the more regular clients at the patent office, after all. But we can still live in hope.