California - When the iPhone was first introduced by Apple, Steve Jobs insisted that patenting the stylus was a bad idea and not worth the time and effort involved. However, despite the idea previously being shunned by the internal creative powers at Apple, it has been confirmed that Apple has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an Optical Stylus.
The current idea being patented is conceptually different from the stylus that most consumers would get with a tablet purchased in the marketplace today. Most stylus products currently being sold are simple optical devices with a pressure sensor that can capture an image using a built in camera. When the stylus touches the prescribed surface, the camera captures the image and relays it to the computer's internal parts, which in turn tells the computer what to do. But today's consumers are more technically savvy than ever and expect more from their products than what a simple stylus has traditionally done. To that end, Apple's newest stylus patent could possibly include several different high-tech variations, including but not limited to: accelerometers, gyroscopes, haptic feedback and/or multiple orientation determining sensors.
It should be noted that the patent application does not mean that Apple plans to market the next iPad with a stylus. However, Apple has traditionally been a creative leader in the computer field and the new stylus ideas are no exception. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that the creative design teams would spend so much time and energy on new stylus ideas if there weren't some products being planned that would incorporate the new stylus ideas in some iteration or another.
This is not to say that the designers at Apple have surmounted the convenience problems that most consumers have with a stylus. Jobs himself famously complained that a stylus was inconvenient and easy to lose. Consequently, even with a convenient space to store the stylus, many consumers end up misplacing the smaller part sooner or later. But with new and creative concepts constantly being bandied about at Apple, it is likely that the creative teams will market the new products and stylus ideas with some interesting new storage ideas.