In late 2016 Patently Apple posted a patent report on Apple working on getting Apple Pencil to work with the iPhone. The report reminded readers of what Apple's CEO had stated in an interview in 2016: "And if you've ever seen what can be created with that pencil on an iPad or an iPhone, it's really unbelievable." It was pretty clear that Cook had seen a working prototype in order to make such a statement. Then in May of this year Apple was granted a patent which illustrated Apple Pencil working on an iPhone. While it's unknown when Apple will decide to pull the trigger on an iPhone that could use Apple Pencil, Microsoft was granted a patent earlier this month for a possible future Surface smartphone that uses the Microsoft Surface Pen. The engineers responsible for the invention were from their Nokia team. Microsoft fan sites have been dreaming of this possible product entry for years.
Microsoft's patent states that "A force sensitive surface measures force or pressure applied to the surface. The surface may also detect the touch position. The force sensing surface is calibrated with a stylus having a force measuring element. The stylus measures the force information from force applied on the surface and sends the information to the device with the force sensing surface. The device detects the same force and calibrates the force sensing element according to the information received from the stylus. The device may also detect the position of the touch. As the force information obtained from different portions of the surface may be different, the calibration may be repeated for multiple positions on the force and touch sensitive surface. The surface may be calibrated to provide equal force values independent of the touch location. The calibration may also be used to calibrate a position sensing feature on a force sensing surface having multiple force sensors. Also, providing rough location estimate based on force measurement values may require calibration."
Microsoft's patent figure 5 is presented as our cover graphic. Microsoft's granted patent 9,720,546 was published on August 1, 2017 and originally filed in September 2015.
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