Apple appears to be exploring ways to boost the functionality and versatility of its best-selling iPad tablet range, judging by a patent recently awarded to the firm.

PatentlyApple reports the company has successfully patented a tablet with sensors around the rear perimeter that, according to the 2012 filing, could be used as an input method for video games.

The beneath-the-surface sensors could be ultrasonic, capacitive or pressure-based and could be accessed via a natural grip in portrait or landscape mode, the filing appears to show.

Essentially, this means the sensors could open up the iPad to a gaming experience more closer associated with console play, tailored to those who abhor constant tapping and swiping on a touchscreen.

PS Vita like?

The sensors could also be used in the same way as the rear touch pad on the PS Vita handheld console. Within games like FIFA soccer, players gamers can shoot more accurately by tapping areas of the pad.

Interestingly, the patent application combines another innovation, which shows a virtual keyboard on the display of an iMac or MacBook, including a visual representation of the position of the users hands

This could be aimed as allowing users to see what they're typing without looking down at the keyboard.

Both parents where applied for separately but have been awarded together. However, it seems a stretch to imagine these innovation will be featured within of the rumoured forthcoming iPad and Mac updates

Via CNET