“The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 18 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“One of the most important patents within this group is for a super smart-pen. In fact, it’s so smart that it’s described as being a portable computer,” Purcher reports. “The smart-pen, which is noted as using an ARM processor, is also likely to incorporate recording capabilities and act as a pager, as the pen incorporates a tiny LCD. The patent notes that the device’s rechargeable battery may also incorporate pyroelectricity and a custom-built solar cell.”

“It should be noted that Apple has likely acquired this patent from a Great Britain inventor who originally filed the patent in 1998 or nine years prior to Livescribe coming to market,” Purcher reports. “This is important – as a recent Apple patent application which reflects Livescribe-like capabilities is actually building on the foundation of this newly granted patent and advances the smart pen to include voice, face and object recognition modules and more”

Purcher reports, “This is Apple’s thirteenth smart-pen related patent since 2009. The trend illustrates that Apple is attempting to develop a family of smart pens for future iOS devices that would appeal to both the artist and enterprise user.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.