Thaivisa today spotted a patent application by Apple that was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which describes an advanced stylus that can be used touchscreen devices such as an iPad, iPhone or even a future touch-enabled Mac.
The patent is pretty extensive and full of techno-jargon and legalese, but it seems to be concerned with improving the smoothness and responsiveness when used with touchscreen displays.
Just this year, Apple has filed 10 similar stylus related patents, which seems to indicate they are seriously interested in just such an accessory. Either Apple is merely investigating the idea in their research labs, or they are secretly planning something that would work with current (or future) products.
Could the stylus be for a 12-inch iPad Pro?
There have been rumours for months about a 12-inch “iPad Pro”, which might actually benefit from a type of smart pen as it would no doubt appeal to business users and professionals who want to use an iPad for more than playing games and surfing the web.
Apple doesn’t currently make any styli for its iPad, but there are plenty from third parties which are fairly popular, especially with designers and anyone that wants to scribble down handwritten notes.
One of the best is the Pogo stylus from Ten 1 Design, which seems to have the most favourable reviews on the Internet.
The perfect pointing device?
Unlike companies such as Samsung (its S-Pen stylus can be used with the Note and other devices), Apple has always claimed that it wasn’t interested in creating such an accessory for the iPad.
Steve Jobs once said that the ideal pointing device is the human finger; and back in 2007 the original iPhone was one of the first phones to employ a “multi-touch” screen so that multiple fingers could manipulate icons and content at the same time.
Since then, many people have complained that without a stylus you’re limited to what you can actually do on the iPad. In contrast, just take a look at the Microsoft Surface tablet which comes with a digital pen called the Pro Pen. The pen lets you draw and take notes and markup documents, and it’s also pressure sensitive so you can adjust the line thickness. Pretty clever stuff.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see a ‘smart pen’ / stylus / digital pen from Apple in the immediate future but it’s an interesting concept which has proved popular for other tablets, and one that could make using an iPad more productive and intuitive.
More details on the Apple patent application can be found here at the USPTO website.