Apple Patents Show iPhone Stylus and Contextual Interfaces

It's iPhone 4 day! We've already seen rumors of a touch-sensitive case and an iMac-inspired concept. Now comes two actual patents filed by Apple that hint at stylus functionality and a customizable GUI.

According to Apple Insider, the first patent was filed in July 2008, and proposes a stylus outfitted with a conductive tip that would be compatible with the iPhone's screen. It also includes the option of a powered stylus that could include sensors capable of measuring force and angle.

It's possible—probable, even—that this is just a defensive patent by Apple to prevent third parties from creating a comparable device for iPhone use. But with the imminent arrival of iPhone 4, it's at least something to consider.

The second patent, from July 2008, seems more likely to be actually implemented. It allows for different user interfaces based on one's location—possibly similar to HTC's Sense UI—as well as offering optimized controls for when the phone is docked versus portable.

Apple Patents Show iPhone Stylus and Contextual Interfaces

Makes sense to me, and seems in line with Apple's ease-of-use dictum. We'll know soon enough either way. I've already got lots of ideas about my own Pre-Party mode, most of which are unprintable. [AppleInsider]