Three patent applications made by Apple were published last week, covering technologies including haptics, fingerprint recognition and radio frequency identification (RFID).
The haptic feedback patent, if approved, would bring the iPhone (and possibly other Apple devices) in line with rival handsets, which already provide localized tactile feedback in, for example, an on-screen soft keyboard.
The fingerprint recognition patent is not really to do with authentication and security, but rather for identifying which fingers are in use, so as to associate different functions with different digits.
The RFID reader patent would see RFID-communicating circuitry integrated with the circuitry behind the touchscreen itself.
All the above are just applications, though, so it could be a long while before we see any of this functionality built into iPhones or other Apple devices.
This article was first published as a blog post on ZDNet UK.