We may soon be interacting with our iPhones by giving them a good squeeze, if Apple's new patent is anything to go by.

Issued today, the patent describes a function for "sensing capacitance changes of a housing of an electronic device" – ie detecting different amounts of pressure applied to certain areas of the phone.

It might sound a little odd, but we can already see a lot of potential - it could allow Apple to finally do away with that home button on the iPhone if a simple squeeze of the chassis takes you back instead.

We can also see it playing a big role in mobile gaming, allowing for a sort-of-trigger-function that intensifies with more pressure.

The patent describes the tech being able to differentiate between an intentional press and the loose change in your pocket by detecting whether you're holding the device or not.

Give us a squeeze

Though the patent is fresh from the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple first filed for the intellectual property back in 2009.

In that time, we've seen a few others getting interested in "squeezable phone tech". Nokia's ForcePhone prototype, shown off last year, let you send a vibration by giving the phone a hand hug. Like a more annoying Facebook poke.

Apple's move also suggests that it might be getting more interested in flexible tech - another patent popped up last week for a flexible slap-band-style iWatch.

However, the company behind Gorilla Glass doesn't think we'll see phone makers properly using bendy screen technology for at least three more years - could Apple's squeezable option will make it to our pockets in the nearer future?

From USPTO via Apple Insider