Steve Jobs hates styluses (styli?). At the January, 2007 Macworld Expo keynote where Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world, he went so far as to ask "Who wants a stylus?" and expressed his distaste for stylus input with a "Yeccch!"
However, that hasn't kept Apple from applying for a patent on using a stylus on devices like the iPhone that are designed for finger input. The iPhone and other touchscreen devices use capacitive screens that require styluses with conductive tips. Older resistive screens, such as the one on the Apple Newton MessagePad (at right), could use virtually any plastic-tipped stylus for navigation and handwriting input.
The patent application, filed on January 14th, is titled "Stylus adapted for low resolution touch sensor panels", and lists John G. Elias as the applicant. Elias is one of the co-founders of FingerWorks, a company acquired by Apple in 2005 for its pioneering work on multi-touch interfaces. What this all means for tablet devices is unknown, but it's fascinating to see that the word "stylus" is still echoing around at least some of the conference rooms in Cupertino.