Patent Watch: Say Hello to... iStylus?

iPhone Stylus Concept

Patent-mania running wild from Apple is nothing new, though these recent filings do seem a tad focused on enabling new form factors, don't they? To go along with the iFlip and iPhone Nano, and the iSlider, comes a little something that just might allow for an iStylus:

Another interesting possibility raised is the use of both capacitance (finger tip) and resistance (fingernail) to provide secondary functionality in future touch screens. [...] Apple suggests the addition of pressure sensitivity to provide additional functionality. For example, touching an item in a list with your fingertip would select it, while pressing it with your fingernail (or otherwise shielded finger or stylus) could bring up a pop-up menu (see picture above).

It's suggested that the patent could make things like text selection and -- wait for it -- cut and paste much easier to multi-touch, with the resistance input being akin to a right-button action on a mouse. Of course, we all know how much Steve Jobs loves buttons, never mind his audible YUCK! at the concept of a stylus.

However, resistance touch could be a blessing to those with long nails, who have complained that they have trouble getting the fleshy part of their finger to properly make contact with the current capacitance sensors. No matter how outdated (--cough--Treo 600--cough--) the technology is.

But never mind what I think, are you hankering to get your iStylus on? And if so, why so?


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Patent Watch: Say Hello to... iStylus?


I would love a stylus for an iphone sketching app. There's one for the Nintendo DS that's really well done considering the lack of screen space. I bet an iphone one combined with a stylus would a great way of keeping a digital sketchbook.

I would like the stylus as long as it wasn't mandatory to make it function.
I like the idea of using it for gaming, drawing, signing my name to an important email, adding googly eyes to pictures, etc. Also, if I CHOSE to use it for function that would be ok.. but I don't want it to be the only way I can make the phone function.
Does that make sense?

If they put a wrist strap on it with a pad-like thing like the Nintendo DS has that could be used with it, I think that wouldn't be a bad idea.
Then again, if they did that there's no way it would look as awesome as it does now.

Stylus text entry would be quite welcome, what ever happened to the Newton entry that was so long ago. You would think they would have perfected it by now instead of relying on the onscreen keyboard that so many complain about. On Windows Mobile I routinely write reports that are several pages long using the stylus entry, and the WM is far from perfect. I couldn't even imagine what a perfected stylus text entry system Apple would create if they were so inclined.

I'm dying for one. I'm an artist and the prospect of using the iPad as a proper digital sketchbook is more then exciting to me.