Apple has set its sights on Samsung's crown when it comes to smartphone and tablet peripherals. A newly-filed patent shows off the tech giant's designs on usurping the Korean company's superior position when it comes to stylus pencils, with much-improved functionality potentially on the way.
Samsung's Galaxy Note series of smartphones will soon be getting its newest addition with the Galaxy Note 20, announced alongside its upcoming Galaxy S20 (opens in new tab) and now-available foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip (opens in new tab). The current Note 9 (opens in new tab) stylus is the most advanced to date with a host of handy features intended to make for a smooth and seamless experience, but it might not be for long, if Apple's patent comes to fruition.
The new Apple Pencil patent (opens in new tab) is for a "touch-based input device with haptic feedback" that could include "orientation detectors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, biometric readers, displays, sensors, switches (e.g., dome switches), buttons, voice coils, and/or other component."
That's a lot to stuff into a pencil, and will certainly give Samsung's stylus a run for its money. The Note 9 stylus can sense the pressure the user is applying, it can transform your scribbles into neat notes, and as an added bonus, it's a remote for your phone that works with gesture controls.
The current Apple Pencil is nowhere near as advanced, but the new one could be capable of touch-based input, as can sense where your fingers are to provide haptic feedback at the location of your grip. It may even be able to transmit alerts via the Pencil from your main device.
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All that being said, big tech companies like Apple frequently file patents, and not all of them ever make the transition from paper to product. Samsung will no doubt be upping the ante itself when the Note 20 launches, and given the wide and varied functionality of its current S-Pen, it's almost certainly got more tricks up its sleeve for the next one.
If Apple really is looking to take on the stylus master, it'll need something really special to stand a chance, and it just might have it.
Source: USPTO (opens in new tab) via TechRadar (opens in new tab)