Apple Exploring iPhone/iTablet Stylus and Dynamic Multi-Model User Interfaces -- Patent Watch


AppleInsider brings word of two interesting Apple patents, one involving user interfaces that changed depending on the user's situation, the other -- wait for it -- for an iPhone/iTablet stylus.

The stylus patent, credited to John G. Elias, co-founder of multitouch maestros, FingerWorks, involves:

"A metallic or otherwise conductive disk may be attached to one end of the stylus. The disk may be sized so as to guarantee sufficient electrical interaction with at least one sensory element of the touch sensor panel."

The dynamic multi-model seeks to give the iPhone UI some context sensitivity:

For example, using the device in the car or in the gym could show a different design on the screen. Devices could also be controlled in different fashions when they are docked and less portable, and a different design and input method might make more sense.

Next to your bed at night, in the car when navigating, linked to your home stereo for a party -- the possibilities are endlessly intriguing.

As always, just because Apple applies for a patent on something doesn't mean we'll ever see it in a consumer product. Still, would you benefit from a stylus? From context-sensitive user interfaces? Let us know!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 19 comments. Add yours.

cardfan says:

I thought Apple said the best stylus was your finger?

chrisr says:

Stylus????? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Horrible idea for the iphone. I wouldn't buy it

Nnk says:

Please, no stylus! I switched from htc to apple because the iPhone DIDN'T have one!

Don says:

I'd rather have a bluetooth keyboard than a stylus.

jtarrio says:

A stylus may not make sense for the iPhone but it certainly does for the iTablet (or however they call it). Would you rather jot notes down with your finger or with an actual pen? That would even be faster than typing on the touch screen keyboard... Of course it wouldn't be the main interface with the system, but the best one for taking notes IMHO.

L says:

A stylus? Just one more thing to lose!!! Then Apple will sell a replacement stylus for $50!!

Alli says:

Gosh...this is EXACTLY what I said last night during TiPB Live!

Reece says:

Yeah I agree with everyone else! A stylus for the iPhone = NONO! It will ruin the whole touch scree finger slide thing of the iPhone. Can you image if on the iPhone adverts they had a stylus instead of the finger =| haha

fastlane says:

I have a Pogo Sketch I (rarely) use with heavy gloves in the freezing cold weather... and, yes, it's a pain to keep track of. I lose it all the time.

usmc says:

How about for 4.0 hardware, the magnetic charging cord like on the mac books.

jnickell says:

Yes to stylus with tablet - no to phone. I still have to carry a notebook everywhere I go to jot notes, phone numbers, quotes, questions, daily to do lists... some of it makes it to my iphone, but it is just not efficient to try and type it into my phone. I want the tablet to replace my notebook so bad - turn my writing into text is a plus...

Don says:

I could see Apple making an iPhone compatible stylus but still able to use your finger.

yobad says:

honestly people, you can still use your fingers with this tech! to me it looks like it would just conduct the slight electrical current in your skin. thats how the touch screen tech in the iphone works. so just think of this as a more precise extension to your hand. it would be totally optional :)

Orion2021 says:

This would be something people would probably want on a tablet wor writing and drawing.
For interface I like the eye tracking idea. Has Major potential.

Ichorus says:

Could they not just make the pen conductive? Would that not solve it? Either with conductive threads or by some other more advanced means.
It must not be that simple...but I heard people were sewing conductive threads into their gloves.
Felt Tip Stylus©

Matt G says:

Stylus? Good, no GREAT idea the the iPad.... Love it!!