iPen: Apple patent applications reveal advanced modular smart-pen

“Wow, what a week it’s been for Apple’s future iPen. It began on Tuesday with a surprise granted patent focused on iPen orientation detection followed by three detailed patent applications covering a multitude of features on Thursday,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “And while we were busy writing those reports we happen to stumble upon two more iPen patent applications that Apple filed in Europe that same day.”

“The main patent filing is a spectacular overview of a modular iPen design that would allow users to choose different modules for different tasks. One feature, for example, would allow a student or business user giving a presentation to use this iPen as an advanced laser pointer,” Purcher reports. “Apple’s latest European filing is without a doubt one of the most sophisticated of them all to date. It’s intelligently designed so that Apple will be able to introduce new accessory “expansion modules” over time so as to keep the iPen up to date with the latest and greatest features. In fact, Apple’s patent application provides us with a number of possible iPen expansion module examples that they already have in mind.”

“The late Steve Jobs wasn’t a big fan of the ‘dumb stylus’ of yesteryear that was basically a tiny plastic stick – and so he set out to reinvent it,” Purcher reports. “The project now has over 22 known patents on record and this week we’ve been shown once again that Apple is still determined to continue this work until their breakthrough design is finally achieved.”

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

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

Related articles:
iPen? Apple secretly files three dynamic smart-pen patents in Europe – February 28, 2013
Apple patent application reveals advanced ‘active stylus’ for iOS devices – December 31, 2012
Apple patent application reveals more about their optical iPen and graphics program – May 24, 2012
Apple patent app details smart, heated ‘iPen’ stylus for iPad and iPhone – July 7, 2011
Apple patent application details new type of stylus for iPad – February 3, 2011


      1. Right… An apple cn always refer to the Newton. The idea was there, the tech wasn’t yet available.

        A wider iPhone is merely expanding Apple’s reach. It’s an area that has matured enough to where HUGE growth is likely.

        In other news… Broncos vs Serahawks…

    1. Graphics, CAD and music and such could easily use a multi-function pen to be able to enter and manipulate more complicated data that is normally done on a laptop and mouse now.

      Sounds great.

  1. People write off the use of a stylus, (ha! See what I did there?), but it’s far more intuitive to use a pen/pencil for jotting notes, sketching a diagram or a map, doodling, painting and drawing…
    There are many times I just want to jot down something, but having to tap away at a keyboard is almost as laborious as pecking away at a screen with a stylus that Steve so railed against.
    And those silly styli with rubber nubbins on the end are no solution; it needs a pen with a fine tip to be able to write notes properly.
    I’ll pay fifty bucks for one, a Bamboo Stylus costs around that.

    1. Exactly so.

      It is apparent that Steve Jobs was cavalier in his dismissal of these devices. Some of us went out and bought them anyway.

      For a while now, I’ve used the SGP Kuel H10 stylus for iPhone 4S. It’s tiny and permits better accuracy in tapping out a clandestine message, whilst allowing me to maintain my nails at a reasonable length and not be forever repainting them.

      Steve was right about some of the drawbacks, particularly misplacing them. My stylus does have a way to plug into the iPhone, but inevitably, I lost it and had to reorder. Because of that, I’d pay more for an Apple smart pen that shipped with a “Find My iPen” app!

    2. I have also said many times here that I couldn’t wait until Apple released a stylus, as there are a lot of situations where it is the right tool for the right job. The rubber tipped stylus or finger just doesn’t feel natural. But I realized that the reason for Apple’s delay is not just the design of the “iPen”, but the fact that the touch responsiveness just isn’t ready yet. We’ll see a fine tipped “iPen” only when the screen responsiveness can keep up to the tip.

      Right now we don’t wee the lag in between the initial touch and the actual response because our big fingers are in the way. Apple had to limit us to just finger painting otherwise we would constantly be complaining that the iOS devices didn’t work.

      Hopefully 2014 is the year that the iPen becomes available. Hopefully too, Apple comes out with some version of iWork that combines art and text seamlessly akin to the old Appleworks (it really was the best). However, given iWork for the cloud becoming the lowest common denominator between devices, I doubt the latter. Let’s hope for the best.

    3. Sorry if this is a repost, it appears my first post disappeared.

      I can’t wait for Apple to release a real fine-tipped stylus to use with iOS devices. I think the reason for the delay is not the stylus development itself, but the touchscreen responsiveness. The lag between first contact and the screen response is covered by our big fingertips getting in the way. A fine tip would unmask this lag and remove the appearance of the iOS device “just working”. Let’s hope that 2014 is the year that Apple solves this problem and gives us the right tool for the right job.

  2. Yes, it is fashionable to knock a stylus, but 10 years ago I had a PDA, Philips I think hard to remember the name after all this time. Had great handwriting/text conversion, and I used it a lot for note taking in meetings. It just wasn’t built very well, quality of the case. But it was far better than an iPad for note taking. You literally could use it like a piece of paper but then one touch conversion to text. Don’t know what Steves’ problem was with the concept. When you have to take notes fast and still pay attention to the speaker, we are still no where near there yet.

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