Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to communication between Apple Pencil and an iPhone, and more specifically, to position-based communication between the Apple Pencil and iPhone.
Patently Apple posted two patent reports (one and two) in August illustrating Apple Pencil working with a future iPhone and today's patent drills down in one aspect of the methodology involved in making this happen.
Apple's patent FIG. 7 illustrated below we're able to see an example touch sensor panel configuration operable with the touch ASIC to perform a stylus scan. The exemplary device shown in patent FIG. 8 below is an iPhone that includes a touch screen that can accept input from an active stylus (Apple Pencil).
Apple's patent FIG. 8 illustrates an example pairing operation between a stylus and an iPhone via a wired connection. However, Apple notes that in some examples, an input device (e.g., stylus) and a host device can communicate over a wireless communication channel, such as Bluetooth, WiFi, or any other suitable protocol. In the bigger picture, it's Apple acknowledging Apple Pencil will likely work with a future iPhone.
Apple's patent FIGS. 11A-11B noted below illustrates exemplary stylus signal analysis hardware.
More specifically, a touch sensitive device can include circuitry for analyzing encoded stylus data. In some examples, analysis can be performed using hardware, software, or firmware. FIG. 11A noted above illustrates exemplary stylus signal analysis hardware #1100 for decoding stylus data. Stylus signal analysis hardware can be used to analyze collected data from one or more touch sensors proximate to a stylus during a fine stylus sub-scan.
Apple's patent FIG. 11B illustrated above is an exemplary correlation engine #1120 in detail. In some examples, correlation engines can include a plurality of demodulators #1122, and each demodulator can be configured to demodulate a received signal at a selected frequency. In some examples, multiple frequencies, such as #f1-f5 illustrated in FIGS. 11A-11B, can be selected corresponding to a range of frequencies the stylus can use to encode data.
In Apple's patent FIGS. 13A-13B noted below we're able to see exemplary stylus data processing hardware.
In Apple's patent FIGS. 13A-13B we're able to see exemplary stylus data processing hardware #1310 and #1350. In some examples, stylus data processing hardware #1310 can receive input #1312 selected by position estimation engine via multiplexers. FIG. 13A illustrates an example stylus data processing hardware unit including a plurality of correlation engines #1316.
Apple's patent application was filed back in Q2 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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