Anyone who has used the Multi-Touch trackpad on Apple's latest laptops will realise how useful it is to be able to perform sometimes complex actions with just a gesture. Now, it seems, Apple intends to bring some of the same to the iPhone.

According to a US patent application, the company is working on something it calls Swipe Gestures to be used to augment the opinion-splitting virtual keyboard.

Swift swipe

The patent describes how a single finger swiped across the entire keyboard to the left could be used to quickly delete one character, two fingers used the same way to delete a word and three to remove an entire line of text.

Swiping combinations of fingers in any direction could, equally, trigger other actions, such as inserting preset symbols, blocks of text or even closing and emailing a document.

Vapourware?

Still, it has to be borne in mind that Apple and other tech companies frequently patent research that never sees the light of day in an actual product.