An Apple patent unearthed by Mac Rumors named Swipe Gestures for Touch Screen Keyboards suggests a future direction the company might be taking which would substantially change interaction with devices like the iPhone. According to the document, the new system would allow for simple finger gestures like swipes to the left or right to control basic functions of text editing. Some movements outlined in the application include a left swipe for deletion of characters, right swipes for a space, and a swipe down in place of the return key. Of course, these types of gestures are nothing new (and frankly, nothing patentable we suspect), as applications on the company's own devices -- namely the jailbreak-only MobileTerminal -- feature almost this exact implementation of gesture control, and Microsoft has had a similar (albeit stylus-based) concept in WinMo for years. Still, adding in this functionality to the software's existing tools would likely improve navigation and input, and opens the door for solutions to the lingering (and annoying) copy / paste problems Apple seems to have.

[Via Mac Rumors]