Some of Apple’s patents are futuristic and innovative, while others are downright strange…. like the digital crown mechanism for the iPad, that’s detailed below. It has recently surfaced via the US Patent and Trademark Office, showing that Jony Ive and co have thought about a digital crown on other iOS devices.


The iPad is also on the list and the crown could be used to control volume or lock the touchscreen, take a picture, or resize text. Interestingly, the documents mention that in some iterations the device to integrate the rotary thingie will only include a touchscreen upfront, with no borders. This input could rotate around an axis and could include one or more extensions around its periphery.


Four extensions are mentioned as one example and it could also provide tactile feedback, or response that feels like clicking to the user. Another patent published by the same US Patent Office mentions a “generator button for electronic devices” and details waterproof button designs. Those have to include a special elastomeric seal between the button and tactile switch, to protect the device from water damage.

So, are we supposed to expect a waterproof iPad with a rotary dial soon?