Apple’s(s aapl) latest patent isn’t one you’d expect; at least not if you think back to Steve Jobs’ thoughts about tablets with a stylus.
The patent is for an “input device having extendable nib,” which sounds like a fancy stylus to me. In fact, the patent illustration example found by Apple Insider shows a device much like an iPad with just such an accessory, ironic given the now famous quote: “It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it.”
Of course, if this patent is used in an actual product, it won’t be a simple stylus. Based on the patent description, the device wouldn’t just have a standard capacitive nib. Instead, the nib can be extended for various line thickness and interaction with multiple touchpoints; one illustration has the stylus tip expanding with multiple strands, much like a paint brush. That could be handy for creativity apps for drawing or painting.
Aside from the standard capacitive technology outlined in the patent, Apple envisions other sensors such as an accelerometer and the use of light beams. For what purposes, we can only guess, but you can bet that if such a stylus ever arrives for the iPad, it will be unlike any other on the market today. And I’d expect the product name wouldn’t even have the word “stylus” in it. iPen, perhaps?