Feeds

Steve Jobs' death clears way for vibrating Apple tool

Actually he was alive when patent was submitted, but still a surprise

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Steve Jobs famously hated the idea of styluses on tablet computers. But, er, it looks like Apple is thinking about making one given the revelations from the US Patent Office yesterday.

The Patent Office has published two pending patent applications from Apple relating to styluses that would work with iPad and iPhone: the first dubbed the "Haptic Input Device" and the second the "Optical Stylus".

Steve Jobs was actually alive when the applications were submitted November 2010: Aleksandar Pance and Omar Leung submitted the "Haptic" patent application and Leung, David Amm and David Simon applied for the "Optical" patent. But then, Jobs often changed his mind. Maybe the great man had come round to the pen idea by late 2010.

Different iPen mechanisms are sketched out in the patents. The Haptic, as the name suggests, is a sensory affair and will allow users to "feel" qualities like brush strokes and line thickness. The second idea uses a light and camera mechanism.

Buzzing pad poker

The "Haptic" patent application describes a stylus with a "haptic actuator", which will buzz or transmit subtle pressure to the user's hand according to how the pen moves. It will feature a gyroscope and accompanying audio that will imitate the sounds of a pen or brush on paper.

The camera-and-laser pad poker

The iPen sketched out in the second application is a super complicated optical piece of work. The stylus would rely on cameras, wireless channels and invisible patterns etched on the iPad screen to allow the user to create patterns in the air that would be replicated on their iPad.

Consequently, the "Optical" iPen will work whether or not it is touching the screen.

With a camera embedded in the middle of the shaft, the "Optical" uses location technology to determine the position of the pen relative to the screen.

The camera would respond to an "invisible" map overlaid on the iPad screen to work out where it was to very high degrees of accuracy. These invisible map patterns could be made with chemicals, lasers or IR ink printed on the screen.

Though the second iPen may have a pressure sensor (as seen in one of the possible iterations sketched out by the patent) it wouldn't input to the device through the touchscreen. The pressure recorded would trigger the camera/light sensor and communicate with the iPad by a wireless channel.

No more fondling those slabs fanbois, you'll be jabbing them. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.