It’s looking more and more likely that Apple is working on a stylus for the iPad.
The company just extended and updated a patent protecting several devices that could be attached to the iPad magnetically, Patently Apple reports. As well as a stylus and a stylus holder, the patent covers a magnetically attached keyboard, camera, card swipe reader, antenna system and data storage device.
The original patent was filed in February last year.
Apple doesn’t always create the products it patents, but it does seem fairly committed to the idea of a stylus, one that Steve Jobs famously hated. He first made fun of the idea at a 2007 conference:
“Who wants a stylus?!” Jobs asked while the crowd laughed along. “You have to get ’em, put ’em away, you lose ’em, yuck. Nobody wants a stylus.”
He also told biographer Walter Isaacson, “As soon as you have a stylus, you’re dead.”
But Apple has already filed two patents for the device, which could be useful to graphic designers, or those using the iPad for work. Apple’s partnership with IBM is already creating hundreds of custom business enterprise apps for companies who want their staff to manage their work or their sales accounts on iPads.
This latest patent makes it look as if the stylus will come as a separate add-on to the iPad, rather than as a bundle. Were it to come with the iPad, Apple might cut an indented space into the iPad to hold the stylus there magnetically.
Instead, Apple seems to be working on a magnetic stylus holder:
The patent also says that the iPad would recognise the presence of the stylus when the holder is attached, so that the movement of the stylus on the iPad would be recognised too.
With the magnetic card reader, the user might swipe their own card when shopping online, or a customer’s in a retail setting, so that the card’s information could be processed by the iPad:
The Patently Apple report added that the magnetic camera will work with the iPad’s integrated camera, and by itself too.
The patent, which was filed in the first quarter of 2015, credits Sean Corbin and Andrew Lauder.