When the iPhone was first launched, stylus based touch screens were the norm. The iPhone thus revolutionized the mobile phone space with finger operated touch-screens. However, going by a recent patent filed by the company at the US Patent and Trademark Office, it appears that Apple could well be looking to bring stylus based touch-screens back .
In the patent titled "Stylus Adapted For Low Resolution Touch Sensor Panels" filed in the name of John Elias, one of the co-founders of FingerWorks which Apple acquired in 2005, the company has described a technology that will enable the use of stylus on modern day capacitive touch screen interfaces whose low resolution is optimized for finger input.
According to the inventors, modern day capacitive touch sensors are not optimized to receive inputs from styluses. This is because, unlike a finger input, the small tip of the stylus can often get in contact with a region that is in between adjacent touch sensors hindering normal usage. In order to solve this, the stylus shall come with a conductive disk that will enable sufficient electrical interaction with at least one of the adjacent touch sensors.
It is not clear if Apple intends to bring the technology to the iPhone. This appears unlikely not just because a stylus would seem redundant to the vast majority of iPhone users, but also because the visualizations in the patent are not indicative of an iPhone-like touchscreen interface. Apple's visualization of the iPhone is well recorded in the earlier patents. The stylus could then possibly be aimed at the Tablet, though that is just a speculation at this point.
What is your take on this? Do you see a need for stylus for the iPhone or the rumored Apple Tablet? Please tell us in the comments.