At the risk of making mention of the Apple patent wars, features like multi-touch were innovations Apple touted as new technologies. Whether or not Apple were the first on the scene to develop and utilise such tech remains to be seen, but at the launch of the original iPhone it was Steve Jobs himself who berated the stylus as the inferior method of touch input and yet here we are.
Sitting on the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office) website (via Mashable) is a patent filed by Apple in 2010, outlining how a smartphone stylus could work with its iconic smartphone. Of course being Apple this is not your average stylus. For starters, the patent refers to the product as an ‘optical stylus’ and further inspection of the application details just how it varies from garden-variety styli.
The main difference is that the body of the stylus would feature at least one, if not multiple accelerometers and other sensors, designed to measure pressure, angle and movement. Add to this a camera which can record and track movements across a device and the ‘optical’ element also comes into play.
Based on Apple’s previous attitude to the notion of a stylus and the look of the diagrammatic representation. This wouldn’t be an essential part of any future iPhone but rather an accessory to improve functionality, perhaps when partnered with some new APIs, developers will be able to make use of unique features, otherwise off-limits to the lowly finger input.