Apple’s next big device…a pen?

Apple's next big device ... a pen?
Apple's next big device ... a pen?

Apple has been granted a patent for a pen-like device—or "communicating stylus"—that would allow users to write on any surface and see their handwriting and drawings on a digital device.

A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) filing, made public Tuesday, revealed that the prospective pen has accelerometer sensors, storage and a transmitter to connect with additional devices.

The patent did not reveal how the stylus would connect to another device, but said it could be done via a "receiver integral or external to the computing device," according to the patent.

United States Patent and Trademark Office

"The computing device may be located anywhere, as long as it is able to communicate with the stylus, and be able to display the written text or images," it said in the patent, suggesting a mobile internet connection of some sort.

The designs showed that the stylus might contain ink or other material that would allow users to mark the surface they are writing on, with the image then appearing on a screen. This is, of course, suited to Apple's iPad and larger-screen iPhone 6 Plus.

The tech giant wouldn't be the first in this space. LiveScribe's 3 Smartpen allows users to do a similar thing, but requires special paper. In theory, Apple's stylus would allow users to write on any surface, removing the need for a specific notepad.

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This is not the first time Apple has received a patent for a stylus device. Earlier this year, Apple was granted a patent by the USPTO for a pen which could be used directly on touchscreen devices—similar to the more traditional styli used with Samsung smartphones like the new Galaxy Note Edge.

Apple first filed for the patent on Jan. 6, 2010, by Aleksandar Pance. The patent does not necessarily mean Apple will produce the device, but it gives protection in case it decides to manufacture it in the future.