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Apple has filed an application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for an optical stylus patent.

Yes, you read that right: Apple wants to patent a stylus, the very thing Steve Jobs famously shunned when he unveiled the original iPhone.

Apple’s idea of the stylus, however, is slightly different from the simple styluses you usually get with tablets today. It’s an optical device that can determine (via a pressure sensor) when it’s in contact with a surface and can capture an image using a built-in camera.
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121 comments
 
next week, Apple patents an antenna that sticks out of the phone for better reception.
 
this isn't 1998, and i don't own a palm pilot. i want a smart phone, not a tablet
 
Sounds to me like they're just getting the patent so they can sue others for future styluses, not cuz they actually want to build it. Funny how this is after Samsung has become successful with the Galaxy Note.
 
Lack of a usable stylus is one of the reasons why I did not buy an iPad.
 
Magnificent innovation. I almost feel like this is the company that could finally bring us the innovative 16:9 phone, and change everything... again. /s
 
Haven't I seen a camera in a stylus before. I am sure there is something on the market. ?
Rob Go
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Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs. He's got conformity written all over him.
 
Logitech and some Chinese companies have prior art on this concept. I had a Logitech pen once that took a picture of the paper (expensive special paper) that let you digitise what you were writing. I wonder how they plan to use this unless for graphics artists who have something very similar in a Wacom Digitiser Tablet either way plenty of prior art on this.
 
I am sure if they call it the iPen or iStylus it will sell loads.
 
“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”
 
So, we're just going to ignore that the stylus has prior art dating all the way back to the Bronze Age?
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What comes next, they want to patent the wheel too?
 
My first impression is this isn't something that I'm interested in. Additional functionality is nice but the idea of another doodad to attach to a tablet is unappealing. I have a keyboard I never use even though sometimes it would be helpful--I just don't want to carry it around. Of course if it shoots lasers, etc maybe I'll change my mind.
 
So none of you can figure that a stylus would be handy for painting and sketching apps?
 
The stylus is mightier than the sword
 
+Jamie Hunt: It's not that a stylus wouldn't be useful for that, it's that it's an idea that existed since the Bronze Age. You can't patent that which has prior art.
 
I think Wacom should sue Apple for this. Cmon Samsung had S-Pen that take snapshot screen photo and works on pressure point invented by Wacom.
 
The way this stylus works... Does anyone still remember the light guns for old consoles?
 
+John Baquiran: This isn't lawsuit time. This is file claims of prior art with the US Patent and Trademark Office time.
 
+Farhad Abdolian - IIRC, as unbelievable as it sounds, Apple filed for protection on basic shapes in the EU (I believe it was essentially the square or the rectangle).
 
We thought this century would be the age of Digital Wars. Apparently, it is the age of Judges Wars!
 
Steve is rolling at this moment. Exactly what I thought would happen when he was gone
 
Absolutely ridiculous ....
 
Wait till The Galaxy Note 10.1 with S-Pen stylus comes in the U.S. Apple will banned that tablet.
 
That's probably why they're trying to patent it...
 
Styluses have become very popular since the app Draw Something showed up.
Jupago
 
Interesting...
Ian Smith
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Name a product that Apple have actually invented, not just copied the concept??
 
Seems like with Apple out from under Jobs (R.I.P.) the company is moving unrestricted. This could spell the end of Apple.
 
Apple uses patents like cyber squatters use URLs. Just in the event they ever want to produce a stylus. 
 
It's because the Samsung Galaxy Note continues to be a huge success!
 
+Max Wellenstein
, I had a Newton until it broke. For the time it was a brilliant but of kit with a sensible storage system. Unfortunately, Apple got too obsessed with making the writing work and so it lost out to Palm. Styluses work but the have to be used differently to pens. Palm nearly had it right.
 
I have been using an HTC flyer tablet with a pressure sensitive stylus for a year now. I'm using it right now.
 
Purpose of the camera makes me wonder about the possibilities. Is this a wireless, portable external camera. 
 
Personally, I enjoy NOT being apart of the heard... HTC or Samsung... Please & thank you.
 
I hear you, +Samantha Code. I don't like being among the heard. Personally, people listening to me is overrated.
 
YES! It could be so much easier to draw! I like the touch screen, so the optional part rocks!
 
+Paul Johnson I wasn't aware that Bronze Age styli had internal gyroscopes, accelerometers and optical sensors. My bad.
 
I have all the respect in the world for Steve Jobs and his brilliant vision. BUT, writers use pencils and pens (there could be an argument that writers use keyboards now) and artists still use a brush. To me, a stylus along with a touch screen make sense. If the stylus was the only way you could interact with the screen, that would be a different story and may have been Steve's argument at the time (palm pilot). 
brian m
 
Laszlo Biro needs to start suing
 
Quick, someone show the USPTO the TED view where the guy does it with a Wii remote.
 
I don't like this. Remember your roots...
 
Apple should actually patent the art of Copying ;o)
 
Have they patented Patent Trolling yet? It would be the most epic patent ever.
 
I patented patents. *dives into Scrooge McDuck money pit*
 
39$ for stylus, 399$ for unique key to pair with your iphone
Matt V
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Apple is foolish to go against Steve Jobs philosophy. There is a reason Apple is so huge & it's because of him. 
 
You know, Palm had styluses....see where they went?
 
Stylusses will be cool only when those would interact with outside world apart from the device.
 
Samsung, get your legal team ready!
Jerod T
 
WOW!! Apple is like old Toyota they wait until others invent something then play one upsmanship and try to design it better.
 
Apple used to have a Stylus input device. It was on the Newton.

I miss the Newton.
 
The beads of sweat on Apple's brow are becoming more clearly visible....
 
Only in your imagination perhaps.
 
Another example of Apple trying to patent someone else's ideas. See D504889
 
This better be a joke! Who would use a stylus with their smartphone?
 
Apple lost their mojo...Samsung is better mobile company period.
 
Having a camera for input is new, but a stylus that can determine how hard you are pressing when you write is old news. In fact, I have just such a stylus with my Galaxy Note (though admittedly I do not know how different Apple's proposed stylus would be). I think it is interesting that Apple is filing a patent for a stylus after Samsung brought them back into style and showed their potential. It is even more interesting when you consider Apple's heated legal battles against Samsung claiming infringement. However, just because a company files for a patent, does not mean that an actual product is on the way.
 
Apple seems to be eager to move away from the Steve Jobs ideologies. 7 inch tablets, stylus, larger iPhone screen.
 
Oh well. It was nice for a while. You know what Jobs would tell them to do with a stylus???
 
LOL.. the very thing steve jobs didnt want.... looks like apple trying to follow Galaxy.
 
Lol. Ya I think apple is doing this just to sue more company's as usual.
 
+Rich Mariner What do you mean "it was nice for a while"? Do you think stylus input will be mandatory? That's not going to happen.
 
Next step for Apple is to patent the patenting itself :)
 
So Apple initially say that tablets shouldn't be 7" or touch devices shouldn't need styluses yet now there are rumours of a larger iPhone, smaller iPad and now the possibility of a stylus which seems to me that Apple are just catching up with the competition.

What happened to "Think Different"?
 
I don't know about this but all I do know is that the galaxy note is awesomepants.
 
Apple "innovated" voice actions and cloud syncing this generation...decade-old things for google/android.

Next up and already slated will be 4g, a bigger screen, NFC -- each late to the party AGAIN!

Now on the horizon, "smart" styluses, gps maps of their own.

I hear the iphone 6 may revive Flash from the graveyard. ..of course it will be an innovation when Apple finally embraces it...lmao!

As to this last, of course I jest...but if you look at the track record, it is a common tactic for Apple to directly eschew and/or criticize things while OTHERS already have them...i.e., rationalize and make excuses for Apple NOT being an "innovator," only to pretend later to "innovate" the very same existing things once they catch up.

Maybe by the time Apple's overpriced, repackaging of other company's actual innovations holds only 10% of the world cellphone market (it is at only 23% right now and expanding much slower than android)...the reality distortion and denial will finally burst, and the devoted will be able to admit to themselves that Apple's primary strength is to simplify and take small steps BACKWARD from the edge of innovation, in order to make other innovators' risks somewhat more reliable or user-friendly. They take the cutting edge...dull it a bit for easier consumption..and tie a pretty bow on top, and sell at a higher profit margin. It is a successful business model.

That ought be good enough and holds genuine value to the consumer....but enough with the blatant lies and false pretensions to "innovation" while stifling progress through distasteful conduct as the single most aggressive, jealous, petty, greedy techno-troll that the planet has ever known.
 
News just in: Apple to patent the fruit!
 
Well precise stylus is a must in education, in order to really replace exercise books! Plus schools need a double face display e-ink on one side and a standard desplay on the other side, in roder to make reading confortable and dynamic and interactive contents possible
 
Hot news Apple is to Patent "Patents" That should kill everyone off. :-)
 
rofl.. wat next?! Think they'll apply for mobile!!
 
The advent of Drawing/Painting and design apps for the iPad has made this a necessary move. Make no mistake, this will not be a primary way of interacting with any Apple project, and Apple will make the best stylus on the market.
 
Some how this seems like going back in time. This needs a time capsule. 
 
+Ian Smith I was going to say Apple logo but I forgot they copied The Beatles on that too.
 
Lmao..."make no mistake...it will be the bestest evahr..." when it arrives...years later than those of their truly innovating competition...as is the case with all of Apple's "innovations."

Good thing android/google will be on to holographic gestures by that time.
 
Could be a useful tool for artistic applications. Shows connection - Expands collective consciousness...
 
Apple to patent your mum so they can claim they came up with her first
 
For real? I haven't read the patent but there is so much prior art already in use the intuitive response is that this should be a non-starter. But given the absolutely insane patents (Amazon's one click for example) already granted, it will probably will be granted. #despair
CM4
 
It's hard to see iPad interfaces changing very much, and it's also confusing to completely shift away from the touch emphasis that Apple's prided themselves on during Jobs' tenure.

Also, a built-in camera? What?
 
I thine think they will probably bring out a similar Tablet like the Galaxy note.
 
i hope the next iphone won't be as expensive as the previous models.
Jerod T
 
It will double as a extend as a blinder and expand as a mug for all the  Kool Aid Apple makes you drink. I think Cook is more level headed than Jobs, who despite his talent for innovation, appeared to be a major blowhole.
 
that's good to know. I guess jobs was one of those people who in our country are called 'kirukan'.
 
My guess is this is in response to user demand stemming from windows virtual apps being accessed & used more from iPads. Example: You can navigate Outlook much easier with a stylus, especially for fat fingered types like myself. :)
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