Apple's knack for filing patent applications has struck again, offering a pair of digital pens that could become a competitive one-up for HTC's Scribe pen. Both filed apps revealed by the USPTO involve styli for iOS displays, but if you're imagining a magical item that helps (or hinders) your typing, this is another ball of wax. The first stylus is appropriately called "stylus for touch sensitive devices" and includes a rechargeable battery that could be stored and charged by placing it in a dock embedded directly in the device. Curiously, the stylus is heated for "more consistent interaction between the capacitive-sensors in the computing device and the stylus," which sounds mighty nice on a cold day. By allowing the user to easily write real notes and draw pictures, this patent turns out to be much more than just a different method of inputting text.

Next up is the "communicating stylus," a digital pen equipped with accelerometers and wireless transmitters that send position data. This would enable it to be used for an iOS device without any physical contact or other accessories. In theory, you could take the stylus (shown after the break) across the room and still jot down notes or doodle on your iPad, even if it's out of sight. Finally, "the greatest pointing device in the world" -- our fingers -- will get a chance to rest.

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Apple patent apps describe 'smart' pens for notetaking and long-distance doodling