Apple is exploring the idea of bringing some sort of depth sensing technology to the home button, which could mean forceful presses will do more than go back to the home screen or wake the display.
Elsewhere in the patent, it seems Apple is also exploring the idea of a home button with 3D Touch act as an on-screen cursor. It details that sensors around the home button could be split into four ‘zones,’ and your deep presses in a given direction could possibly navigate you around the screen.
There’s also a sensor dead center on the home button in Apple’s split-sensor scheme.
While iPhone users may not find use for these features, it could be a killer productivity feature for the iPad. I have to wonder if Tim Cook’s bold prediction that iPad’s revenue numbers would rise again has anything to do with this feature.
An on-screen, digital cursor controlled by a home button might just be the thing that bridges the gap between the iPad being a tablet and a laptop replacement. Or, it may end up being like the Blackberry’s home button and make us all roll our eyes.