Two new Apple patents hints at Apple Pencil compatibility with the iPhone

There’s more evidence that the Apple Pencil will come to the iPhone in two new patent filings. They join the previously reported patent number 9,648,7040 — which also hinted at Macs that could use the stylus … er … pencil.

Patent number 20170242499 is for “noise correction for a stylus touch device” on a tablet or smartphone. In the patent filing, Apple notes that touch screens are becoming increasingly popular as input devices because of their ease and versatility of operation. The company says that active styluses can “significantly improve stylus sensing on a mutual capacitive touch sensor panel without incurring significant additional cost.”

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Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “In one aspect, the present disclosure relates to a method and system for performing a noise correction technique including determining core electrodes and non-core electrodes, generating a noise estimate for each electrode based on electrodes that are at least an offset distance away from the electrode, correcting the signal at each electrode based on the noise estimate, and setting the corrected signal to zero if the corrected signal has a sign that is opposite the sign of the peak magnitude signal. By performing this method, noise induced on sense lines of a stylus by an LCD can be corrected for and accuracy of stylus positioning may be improved.”

Patent number 20170242500 is for “adapter make/break detection for a stylus touch device.” It also touts the benefits of an active stylus for tablets and smartphones. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “In one aspect, the present disclosure relates to a method and system for performing an adaptive make/break detection technique including adapting make and break thresholds based on the sum of all signals measured on display electrodes when the sum is lower than a respective filtered sum value. The filtered sum values are produced by a fast and slow filter, which correspond to the break and make thresholds respectively. By performing this method, the accuracy of detecting stylus touch-down and lift-off from a display can be improved, even in the presence of confounding factors such as variation in stylus manufacture, user grip, stylus angle, and water on the display.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.