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Apple patents the Active Stylus for iOS

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple patents the Active Stylus for iOS
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Apple's "Active Stylus" courtesy of Patently Apple

If you remember the very first introduction of the Apple iPhone, you might recall Steve Jobs putting down the stylus, saying that the Apple iPhone uses the best pointing device in the world, your finger. From that moment on, Apple has never come close to embracing the stylus. That is, until now when the Cupertino based tech giant received a patent for the "Active Stylus".

The "Active Stylus" is a stylus that does more than just help you input a touch on a screen. Your regular everyday stylus works by blocking electric lines. Instead of being passive, like the current stylus, Apple's tool would have the capability to create its own electronic field and couple signals with the main device. This could increase the speed and accuracy of the stylus and eliminate the lag that some S Pen users have complained about. Despite the lag, the S Pen has become extremely popular, so much so that speculation has Samsung including it with the Samsung Galaxy S IV. And we would say that the popularity of the S Pen comes from its ability to be more like a marker or a crayon rather than a touch input like Steve Jobs was thinking about when he dissed the stylus in 2007.

While Apple listed the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad as a couple of devices that could benefit from the "Active Stylus," there is no guarantee that the device will soon be produced. But the guys in Cupertino could feel a lot of pressure to make the "Active Stylus" a reality if the Samsung Galaxy S IV supports the S Pen.

source: PatentlyApple via RedmondPie

102 Comments
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posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:43 23

1. Dr.Phil (Posts: 819; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


I'm pretty sure Samsung patented updated S-Pen technology a while back that has yet to be implemented into its product line that would eliminate any of the lag problems with the S-Pen now. It will be interesting to see if Apple spins this to sound like they are revolutionizing the stylus.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:59 9

8. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5282; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


This is going to be a fight between hardware (iApple) and software (S-Pen). With processor power being so much greater than it was when the patent application was submitted, I suspect this is so much ado about nothing. With screen resolution of 441 ppi in the upcoming 1080p screens, software can be tuned to address any 'lag'. The 'active' stylus is more suited for low resolution (640x480?) applications.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:09

11. 14545 (Posts: 985; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Huh?

Active styli are nothing like using a capacitive stylus. So I'm not sure what you are saying here. You can't get the accuracy out of a capacitive stylus, that you can out of an active one.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:27

14. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5282; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Capacitive stylus interrupts at the individual line level, right? If so, then software can be written to control the interruption events. If not, I still don't see active trumping capacitive, because the application developer just implements an OS feature for zooming, much like what is available with Chrome - if your finger clicks on two selection options, the selection immediately zooms in a dialog box for the user to choose from.

Plus, how is the active stylus powered? Hearing aid batteries?

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:25 3

36. Dr.Phil (Posts: 819; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


It will be interesting to see if this Apple patent bumps up against any patents that Wacom has had for a while now. Also, I have yet to have any accuracy problems even with my first-generation Note. I am sure there will be even less problems if the Note III has this in it:

http://www.patentbolt.com/2012/06/samsung-invents-next-generation-stylus-pen.html

"The new stylus pen apparently uses the micro-current of the human body to allow the multi-touch screen to think it's a finger. This translates into the stylus pen having the same fluidity as you would get using your finger on a multitouch tablet yet with a finer tip. This could take out some of the lag that is traditionally associated with older generations of stylus pens."

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:16 18

29. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1059; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


What Lag??!!!
I am a proud owner of a Note 2 and I dont have any lag in my device so what the heck does this activ stylus provide that my S-Pen doesn't?
And oh oh Apple finally going tthe Samsung way...i am definitely gonna be seeing the presentation for this device...and I will love it when Apple has to swallow its pride and make some crappy excuse for embracing the stylus and Oh My Dear Fans of the Fruit...how they're gonna be jumping up and down at the slim chance that they're getting to take a punch at the Note series...this is gonna be so funny I feel sorry for Apple and its loyal fruity pebble fan following!

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:24 6

35. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 799; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


I bet the next gen iPhone will have that "Active Stylus" & it'll be magical and revolutionary all over again. ^__^

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 03:23 5

73. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Exactly, WHAT LAG??
S Pen is really fast and accurate

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:28 19

16. MeoCao (unregistered)


What Jobs said: "we INVENTED multitouch"?

I just can't stop laughing.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:16

28. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


To litigate and Xerox others™

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:19 8

31. linneti15 (Posts: 49; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


"good artists copy, great artists steal" ;)

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 00:32

65. Hemlocke (unregistered)


You shouldn't be, since that is fact. The inventors of multitouch started a company that is a wholly owned part of Apple, Inc. Apple holds THE multitouch patent.

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 16:13 3

87. tedkord (Posts: 3932; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


His point stands. Apple did not, in fact, invent multi touch. Steve Jobs lied.

posted on 06 Jan 2013, 10:08

102. jroc74 (Posts: 3980; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


If thats the case...I guess we can say Google invented any patents they got in the Motorola deal, right?

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:50 2

42. Igneel (unregistered)


The S pen tech is a tech borrowed from Wacom. Wacom already got them patented years ago.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:43 5

2. JunBringer (Posts: 95; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)


Now that Jobs is gone they can do all of the things he was pissy about lol

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:43 6

3. JcHnd (Posts: 81; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


That "Who want's a stylus?" comment first came to my mind when i saw this headline... they're so bipolar... and greedy

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:48 7

4. Aeires (unregistered)


It'll be produced, in a courtroom near you.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:50 6

5. virparam01 (Posts: 16; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)


Copycat???????

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:54 7

6. downphoenix (Posts: 2232; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


This goes again Apple's MO. I think they just patented it as a bit of patent trolling against companies like Samsung that try to bring back the stylus.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 19:55 1

7. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=apple+newton

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:01 1

9. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5282; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Can we say invalid (prior art)?

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:09 2

12. JcHnd (Posts: 81; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=history+of+pen+computing

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:28

15. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Thank you broseph. You see Apple's name all over the history of pen computing. 0 Android companies in there.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:26

37. linneti15 (Posts: 49; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


Yea because juries really pay attention to prior art in a US courtroom aha... they've gotten patent's on flexible devices, cover flow, page turning and if im not mistaken from memory, something very similar to project glass? and now this oh god what has the world come to

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:07 13

10. ckoch125 (Posts: 168; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Of course apple would patent something they never will use. Just to sue later on I guarantee it

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 23:00 4

53. networkdood (Posts: 5538; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Exactly

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:17 7

13. EarnYourLeather (Posts: 86; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)


Tell me more about your plans to REVOLUTIONIZE the stylus Apple. Steve Jobs is tossing in his grave. iTroll Inc.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:35 2

17. rickywinataa (Posts: 262; Member since: 05 Apr 2012)


apple might launch iPad 5th gen with a stylus (which would be awesome) but if they are patenting things to attack samsung, i don't think it would work as samsung already has Spen before this patent

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 23:33 3

60. tedkord (Posts: 3932; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


When has prior art ever stopped Apple from suing?

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 00:34 1

66. Hemlocke (unregistered)


The S-Pen is only a Samsung name for a Wacom product.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:40 1

18. ckoch125 (Posts: 168; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


First they made a 7" tablet and now this. Jobs is rolling in his grave

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:52 2

21. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


rolling or trolling?

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:12

27. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Both™®©

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 20:46 10

20. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


This is called iNNOVATION (patenting something that they don't have in commercial use) ... and it is expected as Apple has run out of all ideas and will only do catching up and keep chasing the android shadow ... currently "shamelessly" stealing everything samsung :)

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:04 6

22. networkdood (Posts: 5538; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


If Samsung never came out with a stylus, would Apple have?
Just seems that APPLE is always one step behind and is desperate.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:07

25. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Post #7.

Apple had a stylus device way before any android company.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:20 4

32. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


PDAs had a stylus before any cell phone!

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:22

33. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Pretty much. Apple Newton had a stylus in the late 1980's. Unfortunately most fandroids here sucks when it comes to tech history.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:39 2

40. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


What was that, a Pencil?

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:44 3

41. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Yup a stylus which when used on device it was meant to be used "sucked" royally as handwriting analysis failed and as usual Jobs killed what Scully brought in and now Cook reviving what Scully tried to make a big money out of and faield to do so .... read the blunders of Apple and enjoy the ride from newton to maps --

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2012/sep/24/apple-maps-problems-list

Sure fandroids suck faaaaar less than those who feel fandroids suck when it comes to tech history. BTW was that newton stylus for capactitive screens? :)

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:51

43. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Thank you broski for confirming that Apple had a stylus device since before some of you were born.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 22:08 3

45. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


So what's your point? My point is why does Apple patent it only after Sammy showed that what Jobs talked was crap and here's what spen (stylus being generic term) can do ... astylus, istylus doesn;t matter ... point is Apple is stealing big time now that they are 2 years "LAGGING" in race :)

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 22:20

46. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Who's beating Apple when it comes to mobile profits?

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 22:30 7

47. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


So why are you diverting from topic? A Drug peddler/Drug lord/Drug Mafia also earns lots and lots of profits on every gram sold.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 22:47 2

50. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


McDonalds also sells the most hamburgers. They're winning the race alright.

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 01:59

71. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


So Android is McDonalds because theyre selling on more phones than iOS globally. Ok. I guess your analogy makes some sense...

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 14:47 1

85. willard12 (Posts: 553; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)


Unlike Mcdonald's, Apple doesn't sell the most phones or smart phones. That means in order to have the most profit, they have to sell cheap products for high prices....a.k.a. gouging thoughtless consumers.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 22:33 3

48. shuaibhere (Posts: 902; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Who are paying more for feature phone????
Ha ha ha....i feel bad for you..

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 23:13 5

57. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


Just FYI. The stylus was born way before any Apple product ever made! Almost 20 years prior to Apple being founded.

So, unless you're around 50 years old, than even older than you... "Broski"

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 23:28

59. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


I know right broski. Apple released their stylus way before Samsung.

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 07:14 2

78. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Wow you just broke a record at being retarded

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 08:51

80. Ninetysix (Posts: 1072; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


Wow have you heard of the Apple Newton? A device that had a stylus in the late 1980s/early 1990s. When did Samsung release a device with a stylus? You learn something new everyday eh?

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 21:09

94. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


A device that was not a phone and used a regular stylus instead of a smart one....

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 16:18

89. rusticguy (Posts: 2811; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Stylus/Pen was first used Stylator a zone-based tablet in 1950's and then on RAND Tablets in 1960 ...

http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_memoranda/2005/RM4122.pdf

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 23:41 3

62. tedkord (Posts: 3932; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


That was just a plain stylus, not much more like the S-pen, and the Newton was not a phone. The concept of a stylus that is more than a stylus, but a component itself was clearly copied from Samsung, coming only a year after the original Note.

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 08:20

79. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


Actually I think Palm was the fitst to convert their phones to a PDA like phone. Which is what a smart phone really is with a calling feature if you think about it.

If anything, Id give Palm, Motorola "aka Blackberry", OG Windows phones, credit for the reason we have these phones today.

They were true OGs and everyone else just built on top of their ideas and made it better.

Not to hate on your comment, but Samsung is not one of those until later in the game with their Windows based Omnia which was a great phone at the time.

posted on 01 Jan 2013, 12:52 1

83. johnbftl (Posts: 163; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)


No, Samsung was in the Windows Mobile game from the start. They had the i700 and the i830, as well as a bunch of other Windows Mobile flip phones. The Omnia was not their first venture into the Windows market.

posted on 03 Jan 2013, 10:34

100. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


I was digging some more. It seems like even Kyocera was in the game long before the i700 by Samsung. Whatever phones were around 2000, those were the originals. The i700 didnt come out until 2004.

posted on 31 Dec 2012, 21:23

34. joey_sfb (Posts: 1973; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Nobody mention the A word. Why use so defensive?

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