Are the Home button's days numbered?
Apple notoriously applies for tons of patents, very few of which will make it into actual products. This one is interesting from a UI perspective.
You could argue either way, but let's say it's an ergonomic necessity to have an easy-to-locate Home button, as now exists on the iPhone. That button cuts into screen real estate. Is there a way for Apple to get rid of it, growing the screen, while still somehow offering the Home button's functionality?
The answer may lie in a patent Apple has secured involving the measuring of electrical capacitance of the body of a product. As an example, if this were incorporated in an all-screen iPhone, the user could simply squeeze the phone's housing as a means of input. That doesn't mean the body of the phone itself would have to deform; it just means that the phone's body would register the change in capacitance coming from a squeeze, and would turn that into some sort of command. Software would sort out whether the squeeze was purposeful or accidental.