Apple Appears All Set To Innovate The Stylus

Apple might be taking their Apple Pencil to the next level, or so say their patents.

Revelling in the sensation that the Apple Pencil became ever since it was launch in 2015, Apple seems to be retracting on its staunch stand against the stylus. Apple’s competitors like Samsung and Motorola, on the other hand, have had styluses on their devices for a while now.

Apple owed its stand against styluses to Steve Jobs, who was always quite against the use of styluses. He believed that the use of one’s finger leads to a much more gratifying experience while interacting with a touch-sensitive screen. But last year with iPad Pro (12.9) Apple did release a stylus and this was called Apple Pencil.

A patent that has recently come to light suggests that Apple is ready to take this stylus to the next level.

According to the latest patent, Apple wants to add touch sensors to their Apple Pencil. These touch sensors will enable the users to manipulate their interaction on the iPad screen simply by changing how they hold the Apple Pencil.

Additionally, this patent (spotted last month) also describes different stylus-tips for the Apple Pencil, and has an sensor at the top of the Pencil, so as to be used like an eraser, mimicking a real pencil.

On the face of it, the idea doesn’t sound too radical; functionalities like this have existed on styli for quite some time, but what’s in reference now will certainly change the Apple user experience drastically.

In the illustrations submitted along with the patent, there are several touch-sensitive regions that are visible in the stylus. It is these regions that would enable for the user experience to be enhanced. They would help the device detect hand movement to be able to do so.

These new added features might mean that you can run your finger along the stylus to scroll, that you can rotate the stylus in your hand to perform the same action on a corresponding object on the screen. This might also mean that you might be able to change the density or the accuracy of the drawing on screen just by holding the stylus tighter or with more force.

Of course, this isn’t the first Apple patent that has surfaced in this regard. AppleInsider spotted initial patents for the concept back in 2014, one full year before the first Apple Pencil even released.

Amongst other patents Apple has recently filed, there is another one that might help boost their stylus a bit.
 This patent alludes to technology that would allow a stylus to determine which hand the user is using, and then subsequently customize the user interface for left or right handed usage. The user interface currently caters primarily to right-handed people, with the left-handed users having to adapt to be able to use the device which is a little counterintuitive for left-handers. This patent would turn that around, giving Apple an edge over others.

Also, sensors like proximity sensors, accelerometers and even Touch ID would help the device determine which hand a person is using and set in motion, changes to the paired iPad’s controls and interfaces.

Clearly, these new features would enhance the user experience on big phones like iPhone 6S Plus too. And that’s a big change.

Ever since 2007, Apple had stuck to medium sized smartphones that fit in a person’s hand easily, until they launched the big iPhone 6 Plus phablet in 2014. Considering the phablet’s immense size, two-handed use became an activity de facto, and Apple was forced in invent a better way of interacting with the device. They should have gone with a stylus, but instead created a new tech/interaction called Reachability to make the experience better for the users.

Speaking on behalf of consumers, most said they would adopt a stylus in a blink of an eye instead of Reachability.

While Apple continues to apply its Reachability feature on bigger phones, improvements like Apple Pencil would definitely help give Apple an edge over the others in enhancing the user experience.

We also need to understand that these are just patents that have been filed and patents are filed all the time to secure the rights over certain technology, and development. It does not necessarily mean that these features will make their way into consumer products.

So, for now, all of this is just speculation and a whole lot of wishful thinking. But with a lot of merit!


Originally published at Chip-Monks.