Apple has just been awarded a patent that could revive the long-toothed stylus market. Though nearly five years old, the patent mentions a range of use-cases for the new stylus, even taking it off the screen and onto paper. That’s nothing new, but what is interesting is how Apple plans to get there. By switching out your stylus tip and relying on accelerometers, Apple wants to make your writing come to life on and off screen, and could even lead to more artistic digital creations than ever before.
Rather than rely on an outside sensor, Apple wants to build sensors like an accelerometer into their stylus. Other motion sensors will also help out, with the stylus only coming active when it realizes it’s been picked up.
Data is relayed in real-time, or via data packets to better help prolong battery life.
The more interesting point is that Apple wants to allow for multiple tips on their stylus. In doing so, it’s possible that your writing or drawings on a paper or something lie a whiteboard could be realized digitally as well as physically. It also opens up the stylus for painting or the classroom — or both. Of course, you could also choose the stylus tip of your liking to write on your screen, too.
Five years gone, the Apple stylus is either a stroke of brilliant foresight or an idea they’ve since abandoned. There are also hurdles, as dedicated stylus-cum-writing companies like Livescribe have trouble achieving what Apple wants to do without the need for special hardware and writing surfaces.
Still, the swappable tips may be what saves the day, here. If the “special hardware” requirements other have can be cobbled into the tip of the stylus, there’s good reason to think this one from Apple could be a winner.