Apple Reveals Apple Pencil for iPhone with Notifications of when to change the Tip so as to avoid Display Damage
Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "Two more Apple Patent Filings point to Apple Pencil Eventually working with a Future iPhone." Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that once again proves that the Apple Pencil is destined to work with future iPhones; it's just a matter of when Apple thinks it's time to bring it to market. Apple's entry into the Phablet market with the iPhone 6 caused a mania that ended Samsung's market advantage. Introducing an iPhone that could use the Apple Pencil could hurt Samsung's Note niche and provide students and enterprise pros with another productivity tool. The only device presented in Apple's patent figures is an iPhone as noted below.
Beyond being proof that Apple Pencil is destined for the iPhone, Apple's patent focus generally relates to tracking stylus tip wear to prevent performance degradation and screen damage.
Apple notes that in some examples, a level of wear of a stylus tip can be estimated and in accordance with a determination that the level of wear of the stylus tip exceeds a threshold, the stylus input functionality of an electronic device can be disabled.
The threshold can be set such that the stylus can be disabled before the stylus sensing performance degrades to a degree perceptible to a human and/or before exposing internal portions of the stylus that can scratch a touch screen.
Additionally or alternatively, a notification can be provided to indicate to a user that the stylus tip should be replaced. In some examples, the estimated level of wear can also be used to provide warning notifications. Stylus tip wear can be estimated, for example, based on a detected total signal strength of one or more inputs from the stylus tip.
In some examples, the wear can be estimated based on an estimated total distance traversed by the stylus tip across the surface of a touch sensor panel or touch screen. In some examples, a stylus tip can change color as outer layers of the stylus tip are worn away, and the change in color can indicate to a user that the stylus tip should be changed. In some examples, wobble observable to a human user can indicate to the user that the stylus tip should be changed (or that the entire stylus should be replaced).
Apple's patent FIG. 9 noted above illustrates an example process for tracking one or more stylus parameters and using stylus wear to indicate to a user to replace the stylus tip; FIG. 10A above and 10B below illustrate example notifications that can be displayed on the screen of a touch-sensitive device based on the parameter tracking according to examples of the disclosure.
In patent FIG. 11A above we're able to see an example touch sensor panel including sense nodes receiving signals from an active stylus; FIG. 13 illustrates an example state diagram for wear tracking.
Apple's patent application 20170249028 was filed back in Q1 2016. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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