With the patent, Apple could make the iPhone a cylinder, a sphere, or whatever shape tickles Jony Ive's fancy. In theory Apple could develop an iPhone made entirely of glass that could replace certain buttons with 3D Touch. Additionally, by making the screen flexible, Apple could put a second screen behind a first one in a manner that would create 3D images. We've seen 3D images and photography offered on smartphones before, like on the HTC EVO 3D and the LG Thrill 4G, but those phones used a different stereoscopic technique.
Apple also received a patent for a gesture based system to enter specific passcodes in conjunction with Touch ID. Unlike Android's gesture based passcode method, in which the specific dots tapped matter, Apple's system depends on how a specific dot is tapped. For example, when touching the bottom dot, does the iOS user wrap around the middle dot a specific number of times, or does he drop straight down to the bottom dot? In Apple's patented system, this choice matters and adds many more potential passcode possibilities, making it harder for someone to figure out a passcode and break into an iPhone.
Apple receives new patents from the USPTO
Thanks for the tip!