Tech companies usually file dozens, if not hundreds, of patents that never see the light of a product launch. They’ve become more of legal guarantees and protection than actual plans for something tangible, much less marketable. That said, the fact that Apple has been granted yet another patent relating to an active stylus for a mobile device is still noteworthy, especially in light of the late Steve Jobs‘ dislike of the pointy tool. Plus, it adds fodder to rumors of a larger iPad Pro that will be marketed more to content creators than conventional content consumers.
Jobs has a well-known aversion towards styluses, which, given history, might have been caused by the type of hard tips mostly found in the now defunct Palm devices. The former Apple CEO claimed that nobody wants a stylus. And by “nobody”, he practically meant “Steve Jobs”. Camps are still split on whether users do need or want a stylus, but few would deny the handiness and utility of the tool, especially for those that work on mobile devices.
This recently granted patent, simply entitled “ACTIVE STYLUS”, isn’t completely ground breaking in terms of fanciness or ingenuity. It mostly talks of a new type of sensor that could increase efficiency with the corresponding increase in costs. This is arguably less exciting than another stylus-related patent that was granted last December. That said, the dates on the patents are themselves quite interesting. This latest patent was actually filed back last 2011 while the one in December only took a year to percolate before being granted. It proves that, despite Jobs’ opposition, the company was still looking into the possibility.
However, patents are no indication of an actual product, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect for those thriving in the rumor mill. Speculation about an iPad Pro, aside from being a significantly larger tablet, is believed to also include a stylus as an accessory. If so, then these patents could very well serve as the foundation of that input device. That said, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that this stylus would be making its way to iPhones like Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablets.