Now here’s a really clever iPhone innovation we’ll probably never see.
In this patent spotted by Patently Apple (via 9to5Mac), the iPhone home button could double as a joystick: It would be spring loaded so when you push it down, the home button would then enter a “raised” position that you could then manipulate with your thumb for things like games.
It’s a unique idea that could have other applications: maybe the joystick would be able to control some camera functions, or you could use it to control drones or other Bluetooth-enabled accessories. But it probably won’t happen.
As iPhones keep getting thinner, it seems Apple would want to replace more mechanical functions like buttons, which take up a lot of internal real estate, with digital touch-sensitive controls. If the added functionality of a joystick outweighs the negatives of changing the home button like this, Apple might consider this patent. Just don’t hold your breath.