New Patents Hint at Apple Texture-simulating Uber Stylus

For a company that said the only stylus we need is our finger, Apple sure has a lot of patents. It's patents describe what sounds like the ultimate stylus, complete with sensors and haptic feedback to simulate the feel of different textures.

Apple patent describes texture simulating ber stylusApple patent describes texture simulating über stylus

The stylus could use a collection of sensors and cameras to determine what type of surface material is displayed on screen, and then use its built-in haptic devices to create vibrations that simulate the feel and even the depth of what you're seeing. Sliding the stylus over an image of rough cut wood, for example, would feel different from sliding over an image of a plastic box.

The sensors also track the stylus's motion and position for better accuracy. When combined with other patents, it looks like Apple is working on making a stylus that's leaps and bounds beyond what's available today.

Imaging a stylus that's pressure sensitive, offers high resolution tracking without suffering from the wobbly diagonal line issue, creates the sensation of drawing or writing on different paper types, simulates the feel of other surfaces, creates the sensation of using different brushes or pens, and includes a microphone for recording audio. It would be the ultimate stylus for artists, architects, doctors, scientists, and students.

Such a stylus would be great for the iPad Air and iPad mini, and would be perfectly suited for the rumored larger screen iPad Pro—something TMO's John Martellaro has been calling for.

Just because Apple patents something doesn't mean the company is planning on releasing a product. Sometimes patented ideas don't work out in products, sometimes patent filings obfuscate what they're really for, and other times patents are filed to keep competitors from using the technology they describe. In this case, however, it's starting to feel more like Apple is reversing its stance on fingers-only for iPad screens and may be working on making its own market changing stylus.

[Thanks to Patently Apple for the heads up]