Apple's multi-sensor stylus patent throws more weight behind 'iPad Pro' rumors

Apple's multi-sensor stylus patent throws more weight behind 'iPad Pro' rumors
Rumors pertaining to the so-called 'iPad Pro' have been incessant, with recent reports suggesting that it may include a large sapphire glass display, NFC, Force Touch, and other niceties. Today, a new patent filing spotted by AppleInsider sheds light on an "Expanded Function Touch Sensor Implement," which, in layman's terms, refers to a stylus. Given that some of Samsung and Microsoft's larger, 'Pro' tablets include styluses, it seems that Apple may intent to follow suit. 

Published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent number US20150138128 details a stylus-like implement packing a number of sensors, which would offer an input that better mimics the natural interaction of the human finger. Apple argues that when a finger (or other body part) touches a capacitative display, it can "mash" against the surface, manipulating the input in a way that current styluses cannot replicate. But by including several different sensors capable of detecting variables like angle and distance, this device could go above and beyond what is currently possible, including a potential delve into 3D functionality. 


The filing also mentions a "grip sensor" aimed at detecting force of grip on the implement, as well as a pressure sensor, which underlines those Force Touch rumors we mentioned earlier. There are references to a "strain gauge," able to detect the amount of strain being placed upon the instrument by the user, and, similarly to the Samsung S Pen, Apple's stylus could include one or a number of hardware buttons. 

Incidentally, this isn't the first patent filing that alludes to the idea of a stylus, and once again, shows that Apple is not afraid to test ideas that its late co-founder Steve Jobs staunchly opposed. From larger smartphones to smaller tablets, the Cook era of Apple has defied its former CEO continually, and looking at the sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in particular, has been unquestionably correct to do so. 

At the launch of the original iPhone, Jobs famously quipped: 


Still, this filing, along with a string of previous patents relating to stylus-esque peripherals, indicates that Apple is at least considering the idea of such an implement. There's a good chance that, like so many patent filings before it, this one could amount to nothing, but given the constant iPad Pro speculation, there's reason to believe that this newly-published idea could see real-world use. 

source: FPO via AppleInsider

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42 Comments

1. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Shameless copying from Apple again like Noticatiin panel and NFC and now a stylus.

2. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Yes, because Samsung popularized the use of a stylus.

3. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

They did actually for handsets and Apple has sued for patenting computer features and treating like they invented it because they implemented them in mobile. Besides, as you are not intelligent enough to realize. I was just mocking your herd that claims Samsung copies Apple every time Samsung introduces a common feature like this. I am not actually making any claim but of course your sheep brain couldn't figure that out like expected. Lol

7. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

They did? Palm, HP, and Windows Mobile OEMs will most certainly dispute that. Keep trying with the insulting of my intelligence. Your writing looks like that of someone who wears a helmet everywhere in public, so I am sure people are buying into you being the "smart guy." Come back when you have a degree or two.

10. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I do have two degrees and my writing is fine. It is a requirement of my university to have multiple 4th year writing course. In fact, one of my courses was entirely graded on with just one paper. It is a shame that someone with your lack of intelligence would even question my grammar no writing style, especially since your writing style is so poor.

11. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Your writing professor needs to see some new writing on pink paper.

13. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

From where I stand, my writing is far superior to yours by a fair margin.

16. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Of course it is, dear. You are special, just like mum told you. My hope is that in a year, or so, you can go back and look at your writing and recognize it for the ranting of a myopic dullard, but I'm not holding my breath.

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I bet all.of them combined sold less phones than Samsung has sold with the Note series. Samsung has popularized the use of a stylus. Since Samsung licensed wacom, the stylus on the Note is more accurate and pressure sensitive which none of those were.

32. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

Yep been using a stylus for years on many of my countless windows phones. In fact it was quite refreshing to use your finger after all those years.

6. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

A multifunctional, pressure sensitive stylus on device like this? Yes, they did.

8. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

I only remember LG Cookie that was one of popular phones that used Stylus before Note Series

17. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

There's a difference between a stylus and the S-Pen.

21. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Appleis copying? What did Steve Jobs say about the stylus? How often have I fans said the stylus on the Note is a gimmick. I thought the finger was the best stylus. Isn't that what Jobs said sure Apple.is going to carry out the words of their leader...right? It's amazing everything Apple blasted when it came to Android, they are now copying. Don't need high reaolutions, no one is going to buy those hummer phones, throw away the stylus and the list goes on. Watch all the fans follow suit. Anyways no matter how many sensors it has, I bet it won't top a stylus from Wacom.

26. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Well, people having been using stylus on the iPad since the very beginning, with or without Jobs' approval. And the Note 4's stylus IS a gimmick. Even though the pressure sensitivity of the stylus is excellent, there are pretty much no third party applications that are tailored specifically for the S Pen. You're mostly limited to S Note and that's what truly sucks. With the amount of developer support Apple has, they have the ability to EASILY overshadow and beat Samsung at their own game. Cry all you want about copying, but if Apple plays their cards right, Samsung will (very badly) lose this battle.

33. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

In my opinion and I'm sure many others, the note 4 stylus is far from a gimmick. It is a very welcomed and a great feature thus being called the note. Of course everything is a gimmick untill apple announce it, and then comes out on later devices is very close minded thinking.

37. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

We're all going to have our own opinions, I just don't think the S Pen + S Note are legitimate professional tools. There's a potentially huge market for stylus use among students and professionals (i.e. teachers/professors, lawyers, business, etc) but instead I feel Samsung is more focused on all the cute S Pen bells and whistles. I prefer more along the lines of what Microsoft is doing with its stylus on the Surface

39. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Palm, HP, Microsoft and Samsung should have patented the stylus.

4. Sauce5 unregistered

You should take some advice and start copying a dictionary.

5. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Sorry the autocorrect on this iPad Air I got as a gift and use as my toilet tablet sucks.

9. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I've been burned by iPad autocorrect also

12. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

LOL maybe you forgot all the copying samsung does to others oem's product...

20. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Pretty much the same amount Apple and all others do.

38. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Yeah, Samsung may have copied, but at least they gave back. They're the first to make the stylus useful again, first to implement multi window on mobile, first HD screened phone. Other OEMs followed suit, and Samsung never sued a single one of them, they just pushed out even more features and functions to make sure their phone has the edge over competitors. It basically balanced it out. Apple on the other hand has just copied, sued and copied some more. and what exactly have they contributed to the mobile table? Other than the general user-friendly (ala dumbed-down) interface for smartphones, I don't seem to recall anything else that they contributed, or did but sued whoever dared to "steal" it anyway.

15. gaming64 unregistered

And yet they have better implementation of notification alerts.

23. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Who? Or are you xheerleadimg without substance again?

29. gaming64 unregistered

Sorry that I hurt your buttholeness, KIng Butthole.

34. AmirBudi

Posts: 88; Member since: Mar 21, 2014

Apple copy stylus ??? Do you know that Apple Newton (PDA) in early 90s also has a stylus ? http://oldcomputers.net/apple-newton.html

14. gaming64 unregistered

As long as I could carry it around easily and have good internals, its all good.

18. TechNeck

Posts: 651; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

It's funny how Apple made themselves look hypocrites... (I'm not fanboying or anything, but it is kind of true.)

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