Apple's 'Communicating Stylus' for Capturing Digital Versions of Handwritten Notes Wins Patent

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,662
10,081



Apple today was awarded a new patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that concerns a new type of digital stylus that translates a user's handwritten note into a digital version when connected to a smartphone, tablet, or any "digital computing device" (via Apple Insider).

The patent also details various exchangeable tips for the stylus, including actual ink, markers for a whiteboard, or a rubberized nub akin to most popular tablet styli. The stylus activates when various motion-sensing hardware, including accelerometers, detects when the pen is picked up out of its dock, pressed to a writing surface, or simply turned on manually.

Thanks to motion sensors able to detect a 3D plane, the stylus uses an initial zero point to transmit the movement and flow of handwriting as varying changes in position to the desired computing device. This technology also means an actual surface isn't needed to transmit data -- simply writing notes in the air would suffice. The patent even details ways for users to choose how the data is transmitted, including continuously or at chosen intervals, allowing battery life to be preserved.

As noted by Apple Insider, there are many practical solutions for Apple's new patent. The pen allows a user to display their writing on multiple displays, a possible solution for work meetings and classrooms. It could also be a digital solution for note-taking, as the user would take notes with the pen on a paper tablet, and a digital copy would be sent to a phone or tablet tucked away in a bag. The automatically produced digital backup could then be more easily edited and shared.

The patent isn't exactly new, being initially filed nearly five years ago in January of 2010, and is by no means a confirmation that Apple will be moving forward with a smart stylus of any kind. But, like most patents, it is an interesting glimpse into what possibilities the company is looking into for the future.

Article Link: Apple's 'Communicating Stylus' for Capturing Digital Versions of Handwritten Notes Wins Patent
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,637
41,598
USA
Love the Livescribe products and have never been truly bothered by the need to use their paper, however this is the direction the technology should be taking.
 

Z400Racer37

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2011
697
1,595
But..... Handwriting is dead and stuff..... wth??

Theres gotta be some hidden functionality in here right? Like the non mechanical click, pressure sensitive trackpad patent that became the Watch screen?
 
Last edited:

Sandstorm

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2011
626
1,452
Riga, Latvia
Fingers crossed this means Apple is considering stylus... I absolutely, totally would love and use stylus input on an iPad (Pro?) for various creative purposes.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,353
26,226
I'm not sure what's unique about this to award it a patent. But Apple has at least 20 patents/patent applications for some sort of smart pen. How long does it take for them to bring something like that to market? You want to really kill off Microsoft Surface? Introduce proper pen support for iPad.

----------

A stylus? Over Steve Jobs's dead body!
Yes for the majority of things one does on an iPad a stylus is not needed. :)
 

flottenheimer

macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2008
1,188
168
Up north
So, in one scenario, this special pen would let me write on paper – with ink – resulting in both a paper and a digital copy of the note? Correct?

If the price wasn't too steep, I'd really, really like that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: npolly0212

jm001

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2011
595
123
So, in one scenario, this special pen would let me write on paper – with ink – resulting in both a paper and a digital copy of the note? Correct?

If the price wasn't too steep, I'd really, really like that.
That's exactly what they mean. Not only paper, but brainstorming on a whiteboard, or Smartboard or even in the air. The naysayers so far haven't really read the article. The ability to change tips for various purposes, the ability to share your written material in real time with numerous iPads at the same meeting on any surface, etc. Lots of possibilities.
 

Tycho24

Suspended
Aug 29, 2014
2,071
1,394
Florida
The one for the rectangle with rounded corners was one of the most important. :D
I agree with you that trade dress is VERY important & worth protecting probably even more than hardware or software features... as many purchases come down to the visual appeal of a product. Insightful post & I'm happy to concur.

Unless of course, you did not mean it & were dragging out the most tired old trope for a lame flogging of a long deceased horse in an effort perhaps to successfully post the least humorous and least original comment of the day... If that's what you were after, then I'm happy to say: please let the deadest of dead unfunny memes lay.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,658
33,502
Boston
Does this mean we'll be seeing a stylus on iDevices in the future? Seems like a 180 degree change in direction from their prior position.
 

bennibeef

macrumors 6502
May 22, 2013
340
161
Does this mean, I write/draw on an actual paper (with ink maybe) and its 1:1 copied to a computer? If yes this is kinda awesome. Havent seen it this way implemented and somehow really cool.
 

Kissaragi

macrumors 68020
Nov 16, 2006
2,337
365
Could be interesting if apple had stylus support in the ipad pro but then that you could also use the stylus on paper like this.

fingers just cant replace a stylus for drawing or many other creation tasks. The ipad is powerful enough to run serious apps, needs the option for a serious input device as well
 

haydn!

macrumors 65816
Nov 10, 2008
1,017
976
UK
I can see the value in a stylus for creative works, like drawing, designing on an iPad. But for everyday use, the 10 I carry around with me all the time, of which I can use several at once, due the job much better than a stylus could.

I can't see one coming as standard any time soon, it would undermine the whole point and concept of multi-touch. But, maybe as a 'Pro' accessory to this rumoured iPad Pro? Potentially signalling a desire to push the product towards the creative community.
 

the8thark

macrumors 601
Apr 18, 2011
4,010
962
One does not "win" a patent. It is not a competition.
One does "earn" a patent through much hard work.

Apple earned their patent. Apple did not win it.
 

Vegasman

macrumors 6502
Dec 16, 2010
344
3
I'm not sure what's unique about this to award it a patent. But Apple has at least 20 patents/patent applications for some sort of smart pen. How long does it take for them to bring something like that to market? You want to really kill off Microsoft Surface? Introduce proper pen support for iPad.

----------



Yes for the majority of things one does on an iPad a stylus is not needed. :)
Correct. Because it can't do things that would benefit from one.
 

Tycho24

Suspended
Aug 29, 2014
2,071
1,394
Florida
Does this mean we'll be seeing a stylus on iDevices in the future? Seems like a 180 degree change in direction from their prior position.
I can't see this hitting iPhone for many many iterations... but the 12-13" rumored tablet? I could see it! =)
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.