“Apple is back in the headlines this week, due not only to the company’s mixed earnings report, announced Monday, but also the public release of two new patents: a stylus that can produce both fine-point and thick strokes on a touchscreen, depending how the user orients the pen; and a solar-powered laptop whose rear panel includes touch controls and even a second screen,” Michael Endler reports for InformationWeek. “Apple hasn’t indicated whether it will ever release products based on these patents. Like most companies of its scale, Apple has registered countless inventions that haven’t been integrated into any products and which might never be.”

“Indeed, Apple executives frequently dismiss concepts covered in many of the company’s patents. CEO Tim Cook and other Apple leaders have shown only disdain for touchscreen PCs and laptop-tablet hybrids, for example, even though patents indicate the company has repeatedly investigated the idea,” Endler reports. “But Apple execs’ distaste for certain ideas isn’t always as firm as it appears. Before the iPad Mini became a hit, Steve Jobs famously belittled smaller tablets. Jobs also rejected stylus accessories and other concepts Apple has continued to explore since its founder passed away.”

“Granted, these patents might exist as much to block competitors’ moves as to advance future Apple products. But with the PC market still fragile and the tablet market rapidly maturing, Apple, which has spent the last year iteratively improving products rather than aiming for game changers, might use 2014 to launch more attention-grabbing technologies,” Endler reports. “What concepts has Apple been exploring? Here are five of Apple’s recent eye-opening patents.”

1. A stylus that makes writing on iPads like writing on paper
2. A solar-power MacBook with touch controls on the rear panel
3. Solar-powered iPad keyboards and 2-in-1 MacBook-iPad hybrids
4. Touchscreen MacBooks and iMacs
5. iPads with 3D gesture control

Read more about all five Apple patents in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “MotivDev” for the heads up.]