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The iPhone may soon steal Samsung’s only remaining unique smartphone feature

Published Aug 24th, 2017 12:17PM EDT
iPhone vs. Galaxy Note

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Everybody copies everybody else in the smartphone business, whether it’s hardware or software. Samsung got where it is today in the mobile business after deciding to copy the iPhone at any cost. Modern Samsung phones definitely have innovations of their own, but it’s rare to see Samsung take the lead. Currently, Samsung probably has just one feature left that’s not available from competitors, Apple in particular. But that may change in the near future.

Samsung was the first to make popular phablets with an attached stylus. Soon after the Note came, everybody else started making larger and larger phones, Apple included. But they didn’t also pair them with an S Pen equivalent.

Gone are the days when Apple thought that seeing a stylus on a tablet means that someone somewhere “blew it.” Apple embraced the stylus for the iPad, and it may be looking to bring Apple Pencil functionality to the iPhone in the future. Steve Jobs’s successor Tim Cook hinted about a year ago that the iPhone is soon getting stylus support. “If you’ve ever seen what can be created with that pencil on an iPad or an iPhone, it’s really unbelievable,” he said in a rather surprising comment, given that Apple never embraced the stylus as a tool for the iPhone.

However, patents emerged describing stylus technology for the iPhone. And Patently Apple discovered a pair of new patent applications that describe stylus technology applicable to iPads and iPhones.

Patent application number 20170242499 titled Noise Correction for a Stylus Touch Device explains methods of reducing noise from electrical components when a stylus is in use. The technology is apparently required to allow a more accurate detection of stylus positions, and it may already be employed on the most recent iPads.

That said, it doesn’t mean the next-gen iPhones will come with Apple Pencil support. Or that Apple is making an iPhone with a built-in stylus to rival the Note 8. The company may be looking to cover all its bases by adding iPhone-related verbiage to its stylus patents. If Apple is bringing Pencil support to the iPhone, however, don’t expect it to come free of charge, as is the case with the Note’s S Pen.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.