Rumors of an Apple made stylus have again surfaced after the Cupertino based firm was granted a patent on a way to detect the pens orientation.
A USPTO filing spotted by Patently Apple, who also report that there are more than 20 patents pertaining to an iStylus, is a method that requires sensors in both the pen and the screen. This effectively rules out its application to older iPad models.
This isn't a huge issue given the current design of iOS 7, nothing is too small that it can't be hit with a finger. A potential stylus would need to have a significant purpose if only to avoid "dumb stick" references.
iPen vs S-Pen
Currently the biggest competition to an iStylus is the S-Pen that ships with Samsung's Galaxy Note devices. This stylus has previously left us a bit nonplussed, although proved a lot more useful in our hands on review of the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.
It is likely that this is where Apple would target a potential iStylus. Sat alongside the expected launch of a 12.9-inch iPad Pro it could make for a rather nice "one more thing" surprise.
An iStylus would also fit with the potential education and creative professionals market, allowing easier teaching of cursive (a lesson that we've yet to properly use) and for the variation of brush strokes.
Other suggestions for using the orientation sensor include a smart power saving feature which would switch the stylus off when it is laying flat on the desk.
It should be noted that whilst the patent was originally filed in 2011, these can sometimes take a while to be granted so we could be set to see it launch some time soon.