Last week, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had predicted in an investors note that Apple will launch a hardware stylus to enhance the user experience of its long-rumoured 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’. Today, a new Apple patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office titled “Superheterodyne Pen Stimulus Signal Receiver”, has revealed what kind of improved pen-based input technology Apple is currently working on, most likely for the rumoured larger iPad, AppleInsider is reporting.
The filing basically describes a device that could have a unique frequency for stylus-based input that would be less than that of a traditional fingertip touch signal. Apple notes that most conventional styluses have bulky tips, which lack the precision and control of traditional writing instruments, like a pen and paper. Apple’s proposed invention however, is a stylus capable of generating more precise input than a fingertip or current styluses can allow. The company’s solution is additional hardware that would not consume more power than a conventional touch-sensitive device.
“Apple’s method would use a “superheterodyne receiver,” which can take an input signal and convert it to another frequency. The technology actually dates back to the origins of radio transmissions, and was developed by a U.S. soldier during Wold War I. Virtually all modern radio receivers use “superhet” technology for superior selectivity and sensitivity. But in Apple’s more modern use, a hardware demodulator inside a device like an iPad would convert stylus touch input signals into an intermediate frequency signal less than that of a traditional fingertip touch signal”.
Simply put, Apple’s system would feature a touch sensor that could detect the difference between a fingertip touch and a stylus touch, offering more precise input. The superhet stylus signal receiver concept was first filed by Apple in October of 2013.