While many non-imminent Apple patents can edge into the realm of wishful thinking, this one is pretty doable: useful little gestures for the iPhone, which are received over the phone's onscreen keyboard.
According to the patent application, simple input commands like delete and space would be controlled with simple back and forward-swipe motions. While remapping something that is already readily available through a screen key is of minor value, this technique could also be used to introduce completely new functions, and augment the iPhone's somewhat gimped text manipulation.
To this end, the patent describes customisable functions, which could lead to multitouch gestures that trigger the deletion of entire words, switching of keyboards, or quick input of specific characters. While many users would never take to a gesture system like this, it wouldn't get in anyone's way and could be silently slotted into the next firmware update without much effort or controversy, providing a nice little feature-add for iPhone and iPod Touch users. [MacRumors]