Judging by a recent patent approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is continuing work on a stylus pen that will feature an orientation sensor, giving users a more intuitive user experience. It comes as one of nearly 20 other patents from this company relating to the possible development of an iOS-compatible stylus which could be part of an iPad Pro.
The iPen isn't a new concept, with rumors and patents tracing back as far as 2012, but sources now suggest it might arrive alongside the forthcoming 12.9-inch iPad targeted at business users. It is still unclear whether Apple intends for the iPen to work across iOS devices, or just with the rumored business-focused iPad.
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Traditionally, Apple has not focused on stylus compatibility with its iPad models, focusing more on the touch experience. On the flip side, Apple's competitor Samsung has focused much of its attention on stylus compatibility with its Galaxy Note line-up, tablets that all ship with its S Pen.
Details of Apple's iPan
The iPen will be more than a stylus, if Apple's patent descriptions come to life, with it working to scroll through apps, zoom in or out, and other gestures. It will feature haptic feedback while drawing, using apps, and playing games. While drawing, the iPen will be able to sense the pressure and the angle of the pen, letting users adjust strokes and the thickness of each line.
Steve Jobs was open about his dislike for stylus pens, but Apple isn't designing just any plain old stylus. The patents reveal that the technology company engineers is working on will create a more realistic stylus experience. The most recent patent is titled "Gesture and Touch Input Detection Through Force Sensing", meaning future iPad models might feature more gesture and touch inputs based on the pressure, location, and movement of the iPen.
While patent rumors suggest the iPen could arrive in 2014 alongside the rumored 12.9-inch iPad, it is not clear when the stylus will make its official debut.
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