It’s always nice to see patents published by Apple indicating possible new features of future Apple products. On February 17, 2011, an Apple patent was published revealing a new “smart bezel” feature.

Patently Apple suggests that this new bezel will be a touch-sensitive gesture area surrounding the iPad’s display. The bezel will have pressure and touch sensors, as well as light emitters. The patent reveals that future iPads could use the bezel for double-tapping to power the iPad on and off. Touching the bezel in specific places, with a certain amount of pressure may control brightness and volume, and maybe even a way to lock and unlock the device.

This patent adds more credence to the rumors swirling around regarding a buttonless iOS future. When iOS 4.3 beta was tested, it was said to have enhanced multitouch gestures. With a “smart bezel” and future iterations of iOS, we just might have our buttonless iPad.

It is important to note that many patents are filed by Apple and never used, so we should not hold our breath.