Apple's latest patent is titled simply "Input Device Having Extendable Nib," but don't let that fool you; this may be the long-awaited iStylus.
The Cupertino company has been rumored for months to be cooking up an iPad Pro, and word in January was the company might double back on one of Steve Jobs' most strident convictions and release it with a stylus.
Apple being Apple, this "iStylus" would be no mere plastic doodad, and judging from this patent the iPhone maker might really have something special in store.
And the key to the Apple stylus's power seems to be in its nib.
It's all in the tip
The tip of this iStylus is portrayed as both extendable and possibly even flexible.
As the nib gets longer it could become more bendy, acting more like a paintbrush than a pen, so that it touches the screen on more points.
Those multiple points of impact could have different results, like creating a wider swathe of "ink" in a painting or drawing app.
The nib itself might be made of metal, doped rubber, mylar, or even fiber optics to transmit light to the iPad's surface, while a special aperture in the tip could cause a nib composed of multiple filaments to assume different shapes.
You'd extend the nib and/or change its configuration by pressing a button or other mechanism higher up on the stylus.
Some versions in the patent have a gyroscope or other sensors that could relay its position back to the tablet to, for example, create a wider stroke when you hold it at an angle.
Of course this is just one possible design for an Apple stylus. Previous reports have counted as many as 20 different Apple-held patents related to similar apparatuses. So who knows what shape it might eventually take?
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Via Apple Insider