Apple files patent for iPhone friendly optical stylus

Apple files patent for iPhone friendly optical stylus
As surprising as it may seem, Apple is apparently working on a stylus, of all things; a stylus that is meant to work with the company's portable devices, such as the iPhone. How do we know? Well, Apple has filed a patent application for such an accessory, meaning that it might materialize one day making those Draw Something sessions a lot more enjoyable.

However, the stylus in question is not just a dumb, pointy stick. The patent describes it as an "optical stylus", meaning that it might work in a way similar to how optical computer mice "see" the surface underneath them with the help of a tiny image sensor. Additionally, the to-be-patented accessory will detect how hard it is being pushed against the surface thanks to a pressure sensor. The data captured by the stylus will then be transmitted to a "host device", presumably the iPhone or iPad it is paired with. 

What makes the patent even more interesting is that seeing Apple considering stylus support for its handsets goes against the company's traditions. While unveiling the very first iPhone, Steve Jobs actually made fun of the accessory by rhetorically asking: "Who wants a stylus?". However, thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Note, the stylus is now making a comeback, and if the trend catches on, it would make perfect sense for Apple to respond to the demand for such an accessory. On the other hand, we have seen plenty of cool Apple patents that have yet to end up in a consumer device, so the optical stylus might not hit the market anytime soon.

What do you guys think? Would you ever need a stylus for your iPhone or iPad, or your fingers will do just fine? Let us know what you think by dropping a comment.

source: USPTO via Engadget

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101 Comments

1. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

"It's like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it. " - Steve Jobs

3. JeffdaBeat unregistered

Steve Jobs is dead. Tim Cook is the new CEO. If Apple consumers are asking for something, allow Apple to come to those demands. Jobs was a great man, but the antenna gate showed that he may not have always had his ears open...something that bothered me a bit. If this is what consumers want, I'm glad Apple is answering...

4. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Steve Jobs is dead? When did that happen?

8. hepresearch unregistered

I was just asking myself the same question about Elvis...

12. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Elvis might be dead, but his voice will live forever ;)

32. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Hey, I just saw on the National Enquirer the Steve Jobs was spotted at a 711 in the South somewhere...lol

6. KingShango

Posts: 89; Member since: May 16, 2012

Agreed. Jobs was innovative certainly had a vision but that doesn't mean he was always right. The popularity of Android shows that there's more than one way to do things.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

iXactly.

13. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I'm just saying...if Apple had come up with this "intelligent stylus" three years ago, we'd hear nothing but yells of, "Samsung copies!!!!" when the Galaxy Note came out. But, with the situation reversed, what iFan do you suppose will come to this story and admit Apple is now copying Samsung? (I think some might, but not most)

18. hepresearch unregistered

Already happening even without the situation being reversed. Case-in-point: comment #16... and so it begins!

69. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Umm Samsung doesn't have an intelligent stylus so you have no point

70. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

apple doesnt have intelligent trolls, so you have no point.

78. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

right because Apple doesnt call them trolls..

91. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

do you prefer, sheep, troll, or moron?

72. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

No, no. Of course not. Not inside the RDF. What color is the sky in there, where Apple just came up with this idea of a stylus that does more than just replace a fingertap on the screen out of thin air?

90. Fallout09

Posts: 421; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

No, but HTC did. Once again.... Apple never copies anything.

23. SkOne

Posts: 105; Member since: May 02, 2012

Chuck Norris.......ENOUGH SAID.

2. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Ridiculous.

5. PackMan

Posts: 277; Member since: Mar 09, 2012

Optical Stylus my a**. How is this different from light pen?

7. superguy

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Waiting for Samsung to file a law suit in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

28. appleDOESNT.com

Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Why? Sammy didn't invent that either..

88. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apple didn't invent rectangles, grids of icons, touchscreens, multi-touch, popup menus to choose default actions when clicking a link, or smartphones in general, but that doesn't stop them suing.

9. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Samsung will soon file a lawsuit. Will the iphone 5 come with a 5.5 inch screen?Hope so.

11. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

iPhone?..iPad?.....no its a iNote

51. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

i would laugh myself to death if they create an iNote device...hahaha good one! +1

14. 9_HeLLs_oF_DrOid

Posts: 127; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Lol...Apple is one hell of a company. XD

99. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Apple is ONE of the most hated company

15. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

waiting for taco to come out and start yelling that samsung copied apple's "obvious" stylus design and should be sued!

16. QinEmpire

Posts: 145; Member since: May 16, 2012

Good job for Apple patenting it or else Samsung/Google will once again rip it shameless and claim credits.

17. hepresearch unregistered

We've already got one! (I told them 'we've already got one'... chuckle chuckle...) =8-P

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