Inconspicuously titled “Multi-function input device,” patent application 20150015475 actually details a new functionality for the iPhone’s iconic home button that a certain set of iPhone users might appreciate.
Specifically, Apple envisions a future Home button the user would be able to raise in a secondary position, in order to use it as a joystick for gaming.
The idea of adding console-like buttons to the iPhone or Android devices isn’t new, with various cases already able to do this in order to offer a better gaming experience, while simultaneously freeing up display real estate.
However, considering the current trend with smartphones, such a home button may lead to a variety of accidents and mishaps. Smartphones, including iPhones, keep getting slimmer and slimmer even though this particular trait may affect their integrity — just see Apple’s recent Bendgate issues with the iPhone 6. An iPhone’s thin profile could also endanger the health of a home button like the one described in this patent application, because the components holding the joystick in place would be so small.
Not to mention that the home button also happens to house a very important iPhone component, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that’s used not only for unlocking the handset, but also to enable Apple Pay payments. Any damage to the home button resulting from intense gaming would significantly hinder the overall iPhone experience.
On the other hand, Apple has proved time and again it can pull off some amazing tricks, and the company might be able to make a “multi-function input device” that’ll also be very resistant to heavy usage, shocks and impacts.
Whether this particular iPhone tech will be used at any point in the future or not, what’s clear from the patent is that Apple is taking gaming more and more seriously.