On the cusp of the Apple event, new patents have been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, showing a proximity-sensing multitouch screen amongst other features. It could be a patent for today's product announcement, or The Future.
Patently Apple dug up the goods for 13 patents, all of which have been authorized by the USPTO for Apple to use, some years after Apple first filed for them. The timing is worth considering, with the closeness to today's event either being a deliberate hype tactic for whatever's announced today, or coincidental (and for future products.)
The 13 patents include an Automatic Detection of Channel Bandwidth, Color Management System,
Apparatus and Method for Rotating the Display Orientation of a Captured image, a
Video Conferencing System, Interface for Providing Modeless Timeline Based Selection of an Audio or Video File, but none are quite as telling as the Proximity Detector for Tablets.
For the full descriptions of each patent, including diagrams, mosey on over here. [USPTO via Patently Apple via Engadget]