We've seen all sorts of weird and wonderful patent filings from Apple over the past year, from bending MacBooks to folding iPhones. Yet another leaked patent has arrived, this time relating to one of Apple's most popular accessories – it seems the humble iPhone case could soon be in for some pretty incredible upgrades.
The patent reveals Apple is planning to use 'quantum tunnelling' material (sounds intense) on the new cases, which the company describes as both deformable and touch-sensitive. With extra functionality, could Apple have created the first case that could actually make the best camera phones even better?
Spotted by Patently Apple (opens in new tab), the filing details how the cases could include 'touch zones' capable of controlling the functionality of an iPhone. The back surface of the case features the quantum tunnelling material, which can "detect a change in electrical property in response to a deformation resulting from a touch force of a user input" (in other words, it's touch-sensitive).
Apple's new Back Tap accessibility feature could give us an idea how the cases might work – this lets users access various features with either a double or triple tap on the back fo the phone. But Apple's patent suggests quantum tunnelling material is much more sensitive and advanced.
When it comes to iPhone cases, Apple hasn't had the best luck in 2020. Its brand new MagSafe feature has been plagued with issues, from magnets damaging its leather case to the leather wallet's penchent for falling off. But if the next generation of cases is able to add touch functionality to the iPhone itself, perhaps Apple could be onto a winner in the near future.
Perhaps most excitingly, Patently Apple suggests quantum tunnelling material could eventually make its way to the iPhone itself, entirely removing the need for physical buttons. We wouldn't be surprised an entirely touch-operated slick, glass rectangle was Steve Jobs' ultimate vision for the iPhone all the way back in 2007 – and quantum tunnelling material could be the tech that finally makes it happen.
As with all patents, we'll simply have to wait and see whether this tech will ever see the light of day (along with the folding iPhone and this bizarre iPhone/MacBook hybrid). But if you want the most futuristic iPhone available right now, the iPhone 12 range is the best of the best when it comes to speed, camera and design. Check out today's best deals below, and head over to our Apple Black Friday page for more brilliant offers.