It smacks of a company desperate to make their products stand out in a now very, very crowded market place.
They've 'won' (for now) a legal victory over Samsung but have likely had it dawn on them really quickly that it has done nothing to neuter the pace of handset release and development at their biggest rival, as they almost certainly intended it to do. As well as witness the resulting substantial moral backlash in the mainstream press. Both tech and non tech.
I'd wager that all but the hardcore 'buy anything Apple' consumer will approach their purchases of handsets and tablets with moral factors now part of the buying agenda. As an iPad user who was due a recent handset upgrade I can honestly say any serious consideration of the new iPhone went out the window because of this. I’m not alone in now feeling dubious about Apple I would imagine.
I know I'm just the singular and don't claim I know what everyone is thinking, but I'd bet good money that this recent patent application is Apple going down the gimmick route. Try and stand out in a crowded market place to get the attention of novelty whores when their competitors now bringing knives to the fight and not just their tech which has more than caught up with the march Apple stole on them all.
Personally I think 'innovations' like this will do nothing but devalue their brand even more than their recent behaviour as a corporation and the 'missed a classic opportunity to innovate again-what was all the fuss about' epic fail that iOS6 is.