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Apple filings reveal heated, wireless stylus concepts for iPad and iPhone

post #1 of 29
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Though Apple has thus far resisted the market for stylus devices, a freshly-filed pair of filings show the company continues to explore the space with concepts such as a "heated stylus" for more precise interaction and one that could be used to enter data on an iOS device without actually touching the device or requiring specialized paper.

The first of those filings discovered by AppleInsider, titled Stylus For Touch Sensitive Devices, depicts a stylus with a conductive tip that may be heated to create a more consistent interaction between the capacitive-sensors in an iPhone or iPad. Such a stylus would include a rechargeable battery which may be recharged through a docking station built into the iOS devices themselves.

In the filing, Apple engineer Douglas Weber noted that heating the stylus tip may be beneficial in offsetting any instability of capacitance due to aging of the stylus itself. He noted that the tip may be heated in a number of ways. For example, a battery powered heating element, a heat sink which transfers the heat from a user's hand to the tip, or through a fluid-based heating element.

Weber added that the heating element may be anything capable of providing a source of heat, such as a "wire made from materials such as a metal or metal alloy, metal bars or wires, wire insulated in steel or brass, ceramics with positive thermal coefficients," or "fluid stored in the same manner as ink is stored in a liquid-ink pen, for example, inside a plastic tube disposed within the body."



Meanwhile, a second filing for a "Communicating Stylus," describes a stylus that includes a position sensing device such as an accelerometer, a tip for writing, a wireless transmitter for sending position data, and a receiver. Apple engineer Aleksandar Pance, who is credited with the invention, said the combination of those components can allow the stylus to enter data into an iPad or iPhone without actually touching the device nor requiring any specialized paper.

"Rather, the stylus is able to enter data into the computing device, corresponding to images or text drawn draw on any surface," he wrote. "Additionally, the stylus can enter the data from a distance, such as from across the room, to the computing device."




This could allow a user to keep their iPhone stored in their pocket and still be able to use the stylus to enter text or drawings into the device. "This makes it easy, for example, in a classroom setting for a user to take handwritten notes and simultaneously create a digital version of those notes," Pance explains. "Additionally, in another embodiment, the stylus allows for the user to write on a whiteboard mounted on a wall and simultaneously display what he has written on a computing device."

While Apple has so far abstained from introducing a stylus for its iOS devices, instead requiring users to interact with the products solely through use of their god-given fingers, rumors have suggested that the company hasn't abandoned the idea completely and is currently looking into a stylus for the iPad in order to make further inroads into the educational market.

For example, one report from back in February of this year cited "a person who works at Apple on the iPad" as saying Apple continues to consider the idea because adding a stylus option to its tablet device may help the company "reach a wider number of children in school."

Its one of the barriers for school kids and college students to purchase an iPad where they want the ability to take notes by hand and draw in class," that person said.

Both of the filings revealed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday were filed on January 6th, 2010, shortly before Apple unveiled the first-generation iPad.
post #2 of 29
A pen that can take my hastily scribbled notes and upload them to my iPhone without needing specialist paper? Do want.
post #3 of 29
Hey, I can suggest an efficient heating method! The new stylus should work without touching the screen, without pointing at the screen, hell, even without taking the stylus out of your favorite "heating place"...

Looks like someone's gonna blow it...
post #4 of 29
Before people start asking if this will be in the next iPad, it should be pointed out that Apple (and other companies) file many patents and the vast majority of them do not see the light of day as a finished product on a store shelf.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Before people start asking if this will be in the next iPad, it should be pointed out that Apple (and other companies) file many patents and the vast majority of them do not see the light of day as a finished product on a store shelf.

I know, but I always wanted a Logi-Pen, and if Apple were to make one that was actually good - I'd get a big case of the warm and tingleys.
post #6 of 29
"If you see a stylus, we've done something wrong..."
post #7 of 29
deleted
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

"If you see a stylus, they blew it. In multitasking, if you see a task manager... they blew it."
- Steve Jobs

doesn't it follow that for him to say that he would have tried one?
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

"If you see a stylus, they blew it. In multitasking, if you see a task manager... they blew it."
- Steve Jobs

yeh yeh, but if you note the second patent isn't a stylus - it's a pen, with ink, that writes on paper - and then communicates back to the iDevice at some later time wirelessly. That's a totally different thing - it's not an added inconvenience to my interaction with my iDevice - it's an added convenience to my interaction with paper.
post #10 of 29
My few attempts to use a stylus on my iPad resulted in issues where my palm resting on the iPad, as I draw, "marks" the drawing area. This is also true with the palm aware apps.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Though Apple has thus far resisted the market for stylus devices, a freshly-filed pair of filings show the company continues to explore the space with concepts such as a "heated stylus" for more precise interaction and one that could be used to enter data on an iOS device without actually touching the device or requiring specialized paper. ...

I hate to point out the obvious, but neither of these is actually a stylus in the sense of being a proper drawing stylus or different in any essential way from the cpacitive styluses we have now.

Capacitive styluses are "fake fingers" and work the same way as fingers with all of the inaccuracy, and all of the problems associated with using your finger on the display. A "real" drawing stylus needs to has pressure sensitivity, a variable stroke, and on an iOS device would have to be *non-capacitive*.

The second type of "communication" stylus has also been around for a while. I can't remember the product name but they were very popular a few years ago for notes. You draw on a piece of paper with a real pen, but all the positioning data is recorded as vector information and transmitted to a memory card.

These patents cover minor improvements to styluses that are already commonplace. This isn't Apple looking at inventing a proper stylus for the iPad or anything like that.
post #12 of 29
Before iPhones I used Palm Pilots for years. I loved everything about them except the stylus. Not until I had my first iPhone did I realize what a royal pain the stylus was. For those who want them, great. I'm not against them; I just don't want to ever have to use one again.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The second type of "communication" stylus has also been around for a while. I can't remember the product name but they were very popular a few years ago for notes. You draw on a piece of paper with a real pen, but all the positioning data is recorded as vector information and transmitted to a memory card.

The popular versions are all flawed. The LogiPen requires a seperate receiver affixed to the page to provide position data. The LiveScribe requires special paper. A genuine pen that has no extraneous requirement would be a huge improvement.
post #14 of 29
This is better than releasing a tablet that also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size. Maybe a 7" is on the way.
post #15 of 29
IBM invented this a long time ago Apple.

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #16 of 29
No thanks.

Next...
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

"If you see a stylus, they blew it.
- Steve Jobs

You forgot: "Until we do it."

Then it makes perfect sense.
post #18 of 29
Make it pressure sensitive (which is possible with a capacitive screen), and have some form of system where only the pen is detected, then I'm sold. Throw in Photoshop Elements for iPad and I'm deffinitly sold! (a man can dream).

... at night.

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... at night.

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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

These patents cover minor improvements to styluses that are already commonplace. This isn't Apple looking at inventing a proper stylus for the iPad or anything like that.

I love the ideas present in these patents. I could really see a lot of use for this especially if these new iPens can sync the info with the cloud somehow and the whole ecosystem of iPhones iPads and Macs have access to the information (notes).

But as you said "smart pens" and drawing stylus are nothing new.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applecation View Post

My few attempts to use a stylus on my iPad resulted in issues where my palm resting on the iPad, as I draw, "marks" the drawing area. This is also true with the palm aware apps.

I use a box wave stylus for writing with the two best apps: notes plus and notetaker both these apps disable parts of the screen so that resting you palm on the screen do not enter marks

The reason a stlus works better than my finger is because I can achieve finer movements with my thumb and index finger wrapped around my stylus than I can with just my finger. It works just fine.I disagree about it not working with the palm aware apps. Which ones are you using?
post #21 of 29
How 'bout I just dust off my Palm Pilot (I still have it) and the stylus it came with from 10-15 years ago ?...............are we regressing here ????

As someone else said...................

"No thanks.

Next..."
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applecation View Post

My few attempts to use a stylus on my iPad resulted in issues where my palm resting on the iPad, as I draw, "marks" the drawing area. This is also true with the palm aware apps.

A relatively simple solution to this would be to have iOS differentiate between "stylus" input and "finger" input. If it detects a stylus, then simply deactivate the touch capability. I can't imagine a situation where a user would want to use style and touch at the same time. But in that instance that is beyond my imagination, there's a solution for that as well. If you're holding a stylus normally, then your hand will be positioned in a certain way (for righties and lefties). If iOS detects a stylus, then ignore that area in which your hand will make contact with the iPad/iPhone surface, but accept touch inputs in other locations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

IBM invented this a long time ago Apple.

So? Apple didn't invent the smartphone or the portable digital music player, or the tablet either. What's your point?
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

Make it pressure sensitive (which is possible with a capacitive screen), and have some form of system where only the pen is detected, then I'm sold. Throw in Photoshop Elements for iPad and I'm deffinitly sold! (a man can dream).

Yeah, what he said.
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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by foxhunter101 View Post

How 'bout I just dust off my Palm Pilot (I still have it) and the stylus it came with from 10-15 years ago ?...............are we regressing here ????

As someone else said...................

"No thanks.

Next..."

I get the impression that this is a "smart" styluscloser to Wacom technology than a "dumb" Palm stylus. Also, just as Apple didn't just recycle the Microsoft Windows tablet paradigm from 10-15 years ago, it's highly unlikely that Apple will simply recycle the Palm/stylus interface. I think Apple have proved over the last ten years that their engineers are much more creative/innovative than that. They don't just hack together old technology. Nor do they totally invent new technology. Perhaps the best way to put it is, they reinvent technology paradigms.

I liked Apple's "Ink" application that allowed me to write with my Wacom tablet. I found the handwriting recognition to be pretty decentnot great, just decent. But with a lot of potential for growth/evolution. I was very disappointed then, when Apple got rid of it.

It would be pretty cool if Apple is seriously considering bringing back handwriting recognition (with pressure sensitivity. Writing directly to a [iPad/iPhone] screen is much more intuitive than writing on an analogous surface (touchpad/Wacom tablet). And, for me at least, it would be much easier than typing on a software keyboard. As someone said at another time in another thread, the onscreen keyboard is tricky, because you can't feel your way around the keys, like you can a physical keyboard. When we write we're naturally looking at what we're writing, but experienced typists are generally used to not having to look at the keys. But that is not an option with an on-screen keyboard.
So, I'm all in favour of stylus inputof course, not as a replacement for the on-screen keyboard, but with the on-screen keyboard as an alternate input.
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post #24 of 29
... and finally the Newton reintroduced. I guess that this is a way for SJ to save face for dumping it.

BTW, Futuristic, isn't this "RECYCLING" ???

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-Steve Jobs
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post #25 of 29
Apple does need to provide support for a stylus in iOS, third party solutions will always be a kludge.

And this not about iPhones. Phones with a stylus are stupid, but an iPad which supported a stylus would be very desirable.

Its one of the barriers for school kids and college students to purchase an iPad where they want the ability to take notes by hand and draw in class,"

It is just not for school kids. It would make an iPad a lot more useful in business as well. I would love to be able to jot down notes in a meeting, or take a PDF doc and mark it up and make comments on it with a stylus.
post #26 of 29
I spent four years at university, during which time I never took anything with me to class other than an Apple Newton MessagePad 120. Yes, it was larger and heavier than an iPhone, but it would record my handwriting fast enough for me to take notes and it would then wait to convert those notes to text when I got home and plugged the unit into my computer. The single, sole reason I haven't purchased a iPad is because it will not do the same. Oh sure, I have a laptop, several of them. I even had a laptop back then. But, clacking away on a keyboard in a room full of people trying to pay attention is obnoxious. No matter how you slice, whether sitting in a classroom, a meeting, a medical exam room, or a board room, there is no way to take notes more quickly, quietly and discretely than by handwriting. When Apple recognizes this and ports functionality that has been in its port folio for over twenty years now, technology that has mostly already been ported in the form of Mac OS X's unused InkWell, it will massively expand the market for iOS devices.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

Apple does need to provide support for a stylus in iOS, third party solutions will always be a kludge.

And this not about iPhones. Phones with a stylus are stupid, but an iPad which supported a stylus would be very desirable.

Its one of the barriers for school kids and college students to purchase an iPad where they want the ability to take notes by hand and draw in class,"

It is just not for school kids. It would make an iPad a lot more useful in business as well. I would love to be able to jot down notes in a meeting, or take a PDF doc and mark it up and make comments on it with a stylus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by debohun View Post

...But, clacking away on a keyboard in a room full of people trying to pay attention is obnoxious. No matter how you slice, whether sitting in a classroom, a meeting, a medical exam room, or a board room, there is no way to take notes more quickly, quietly and discretely than by handwriting. When Apple recognizes this and ports functionality that has been in its port folio for over twenty years now, technology that has mostly already been ported in the form of Mac OS X's unused InkWell, it will massively expand the market for iOS devices.

Totally agree with both comments.
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post #28 of 29
So, is there an app for that? An app to be able to use a stylus or your finger on an iPad touch screen?
post #29 of 29
It sounds like the mighty mouse for styluses. It will have special "touch features" that work as short cuts for apple devices. Knowing apple, they wont release it until it is actually useful
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