Apple granted patent for stylus that can write on any surface

apple stylus

Apple’s patent filings can’t really be relied upon for specifics about upcoming product lines (remember the slap bracelet style wearable that had Apple Watch rumour hounds frothing at the mouth?). That said, these filings can show Apple’s hand to some extent, and (if nothing else) it’s interesting to see where a company with Apple’s influence thinks the industry is going.

This month, Apple was granted a new patent related to styli. Filed almost five years ago, in January of 2010, but only made public today, the documents describe a stylus that can “write” on any surface and display the resulting data on a digital device. This stylus can also be moved around to “draw” in 3D space and display the resulting images on your device’s display. By tracking its own position, the device can transmit data simultaneously, or store movements for transmission of transcribed text and drawings at a later time.

Apple’s concept would mean you no longer need to touch the stylus to the device’s display, and the stylus wouldn’t be tied to any specific surface, so you wouldn’t have to carry around one singular note-taking device. Instead, you could write on a desk, a napkin, a wall, or even a gum wrapper, and know that all of your notes and scribbles are stored in once place. The only requirement is that the stylus be “in range” and able to communicate with the connected device.

Perhaps most interesting is that this idea could be an actual pen as well as an ‘any time, any place’ digital stylus. The drawings attached to the filing include an ink tube (210) that allows the stylus to actually display what is being written by the user on the surface in front of them. Not unlike the Livescribe smart pen, this could be used by students to take notes that then appear instantly on a tablet, computer, or smartphone. The patent filing says this ink tube could contain any material from blue ink to graphite.

Given how old this patent filing is, it’s unlikely Apple plans to release such a device, and definitely not in the near future. At least now we know that if styli ever have their moment in the spotlight, Apple’s patent portfolio is adequately prepared.

[source]USPTO[/source][via]Apple Insider[/via]

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