Is Apple Planning to Build Stylus With Haptic Feedback And Optical Sensor For iPhone And iPad?

BY Jason

Published 24 May 2012

AppleInsider has discovered two new Apple patents that were published this week.

The first one titled Haptic Input Device reveals Apple’s is exploring building haptic sylus for touchscreen devices like the iPhone and the iPad.

Apple highlights some of the disadvantages of Apple’s iOS touchscreen devices in the patent. Apple notes that with touchscreen devices, users currently cannot feel the texture, individual icons and other objects represented digitally on the screen.

Apple engineers Aleksandar Pance and Omar Sze Leung who have been credited with patent explain how this can be addressed with a stylus with haptic feedback.

“An input device capable of generating haptic feedback may help a user navigate content displayed on the screen, and may further serve to enhance the content of various applications by creating a more appealing and realistic user interface,” the filing reads, noting that haptic feedback could be provided with any force, vibration or motion that could be sensed by the user.

As AppleInsider points out, this is not the first time Apple has shown interest in haptic feedback for iOS devices. Back in March, a patent application titled “Touch-Based User Interface with Haptic Feedback” had also revealed that Apple is interested in bringing the haptic feedback technology to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

In fact, few hours before the new iPad event, a report claimed that Apple’s third generation iPad will feature Senseg’s haptic feedback touch technology. We soon found out that it was a case of wishful thinking.

The second patent explores building an optical stylus. AppleInsider reports:

plastic styluses cannot be used to register input on a capacitive touchscreen like is found on the iPhone or iPad. In addition, styluses offer a point smaller than a finger tip, which can give users more precise control.

Apple’s optical stylus would include a sensor, such as a camera, that would determine a location and movement of the stylus relative to the touchscreen. The stylus could be configured to either transmit location and movement to the computing device, or to process and filter the location and movement prior to transmission, rather than sending raw data.

While it is quite possible that Apple will bring haptic feedback technology to future iPhones and iPads, we doubt Apple will ever build styluses for touchscreen devices, especially after Steve Jobs famously said: “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”

What do you think? What’s your take on styluses for iPad and iPhone?