Preview at WWDC likely in June, followed by September launch.
Apple Exploring Smart Bezel with Illuminated Buttons
PatentlyApple reveals a new Apple patent application which details how the iPhone might get a new "smart bezel" which offers the ability to display additional indicators in the device's border.
Apple intends to introduce a method that employs a very cool secondary display scheme that utilizes a printed segmented electroluminescence display. Apple intends to use the secondary display to introduce a set of new illuminated indicators that are able morph into various controls for work and play. Illuminated gaming and productivity controls could be built into the face-side of the bezel and/or selected back-side areas of iOS devices like the iPad.The reasoning behind embedding these indicators in the bezel itself is to provide the user visual instruction or guidance without taking up valuable screen real estate.
Apple's patent covers systems and methods for selectively illuminating a secondary display. An electronic device could include a primary display (e.g., a liquid crystal display (LCD) screen) and a secondary display (e.g., a printed segmented electroluminescence display). The primary display could be used to convey visual content to a user, and the secondary display could be used to guide a user providing inputs to the device. For example, the secondary display could be selectively illuminated to provide one or more indicators that represent where or how a user can provide inputs to the device.The side indicators could be composed of a number of elements to allow developers to "draw" different icons. Figure 3A shows all elements in an "off" position. Figure 3B shows a + or cross, 3C a gamepad icon and 3D an up arrow.