Patently Apple has announced their final patent report of 2012. In it, they discuss a new Apple patent first published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 27. Called the “Active Stylus,” the patent suggests a new type of input device for iOS.

Conventional styluses are “passive” and “incapable of actively transmitting stimulus signals.” However, the one that Apple envisions “can significantly improve stylus sensing on a mutual capacitive touch sensor panel without incurring significant additional cost.”

The type of stylus that Apple discusses would work on an iPhone or iPad. It would include “drive circuitry” “able to generate a stimulus signal which can be actively transmitted from the electrode.”

Active Stylus Patent

The Active Stylus patent application was first submitted to the government in the second quarter of 2011. The inventors are listed as Apple’s Engineering Manager Jonah Harley and Hardware Engineering Manager David Simon.

Although competitors have long offered styluses to work with their mobile devices, Apple has not. Instead, Cupertino has emphasize the simplicity of using fingers on the company’s full line of iOS devices.

Source: Patently Apple