Proof Apple is GOING BACKWARDS: It's trying to patent a Newton-ish touchscreen stylus

Hey, who are you looking at, tip head?


Apple has applied for a patent in the US that describes a stylus with a changeable tip for touchscreen gadgets.

The filing, submitted this week to Uncle Sam's Patent and Trademark Office, shows a pointy stick that works with an iOS device, and sports a head that can be switched from a conventional pen-tip to other attachments, such as a brush tip.

"The input device includes a body, a nib or tip movably coupled to the body, and an actuator operably connected to the body and the nib," Apple's Joel Armstrong-Muntner wrote in the application's paperwork.

"The actuator moves the nib from a first position to a second position, and in the first position the input device provides a first input to the computing device and in the second position the input device provides a second input to the computing device."

Apple stylus patent

What a time to be alive ... Apple's magic wand from the patent filing

Today's iOS devices, from the iPhone to the iPad Mini, are all finger-driven with no need for a stylus (although third-party ones exist).

We suspect long-time staff at the Cupertino corporation may look upon the pointy doodads and shudder. Apple's last use of a stylus was with the Newton MessagePad, an ill-fated personal assistant device (PDA) that the company sold between 1993 and 1998, and its cousin the eMate in 1997 to 1998. Both gadgets were eventually muscled out of the market by the likes of Palm and other PDA specialists, and suffered from notoriously poor handwriting recognition on early models.

Apple Newton MessagePad

Newton MessagePad ... Eat up Martha

Given the technological advances since those days, it is safe to say that a contemporary Apple stylus would be far more useful and could have some very fun and interesting use cases within iOS on Retina display iPads. Changing the tip heads could change the brush stroke size in an on-screen painting app, perhaps.

As always, we're taking the filing with more than a few grains of salt. The patent application is just that; a filed application submitted by the company. Even if Cupertino gets the patent approved, there is no guarantee that the device will be packaged and flogged to fanbois.

Still, the prospect of an Apple iOS pen or paintbrush would be intriguing, particularly for the creative and educational markets. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Workers win vote to form first-ever US Apple Store union
    Results set to be ratified by labor board by end of the week

    Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland have voted to form a union, making them the first of the iGiant's retail staff to do so in the United States.

    Out of 110 eligible voters, 65 employees voted in support of unionization versus 33 who voted against it. The organizing committee, known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), has now filed to certify the results with America's National Labor Relations Board. Members joining this first-ever US Apple Store union will be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

    "I applaud the courage displayed by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory," IAM's international president Robert Martinez Jr said in a statement on Saturday. "They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election."

    Continue reading
  • Apple may have to cough up $1bn to Brits in latest iPhone Batterygate claim
    Lawsuit took its time, just like your older iOS handset

    Another day, another legal claim against Apple for deliberately throttling the performance of its iPhones to save battery power.

    This latest case was brought by Justin Gutmann, who has asked the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to approve a collective action that could allow as many as 25 million Brits to claim compensation from the American technology giant. He claims the iGiant secretly degraded their smartphones' performance to make the battery power last longer.

    Apple may therefore have to cough up an eye-popping £768 million ($927 million), Gutmann's lawyers estimated, Bloomberg first reported this week.

    Continue reading
  • UK competition watchdog seeks to make mobile browsers, cloud gaming and payments more competitive
    Investigation could help end WebKit monoculture on iOS devices

    The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said it intends to launch an investigation of Apple's and Google's market power with respect to mobile browsers and cloud gaming, and to take enforcement action against Google for its app store payment practices.

    "When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards," said Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, in a statement. "As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice."

    The decision to open a formal investigation follows the CMA's year-long study of the mobile ecosystem. The competition watchdog's findings have been published in a report that concludes Apple and Google have a duopoly that limits competition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022