With a new iPhone expected to debut this summer, Apple's phone-related patents start to take on added weight. Especially when they're as badass as the one unveiled yesterday that turns the iPhone's camera into a swipe pad.
The technology described in the patent, dug up by the diligent folks at Patently Apple, would allow an iPhone user to fast forward and rewind through voicemails, navigate web pages, or scroll through contact lists and iTunes simply by swiping one finger against the iPhone's camera.
The proposed controls would also be tap sensitive, meaning that you can access different phone or UI functions simply by tapping the camera with your forefinger. Theoretically, all of these controls would also apply to the iPad... should it ever, you know, get a camera.
The patent was originally filed in Q3 of 2008, which may have left just enough time for Apple to have implemented the tech by this summer. Let's hope so... this is one of those patents that actually seems as functional as it does cool. [Patently Apple]