Well, looky here: Apple, the company that's been so adamant about the stylus being a symbol of why past tablets have failed just received two patents for a pair of styli that work in conjunction with the iPhone and iPad. Take a deep breath, and click in for the full explanation.
Companies experiment with and patent technologies all the time. Most of the time, those patents never live on to be anything but a bunch of scribbly drawings.
The first patent calls for a haptic feedback pen that allows users to essentially "feel" the touchscreen via a force, vibration or any motion.
The second stylus patent suggests using an "optical stylus" that would combine a camera and sensor that'll track the precise location and movement of the pen on a capacitative touchscreen.
While Samsung is gung-ho about its Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet devices that use its Wacom-based "S-Pen" for pressure-sensitive doodling, Apple (at least under Steve Jobs) denounced the stylus as an input of the future back in 2010:
It's like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it. In multitasking, if you see a task manager
they blew it. Users shouldn't ever have to think about it.
Will Apple revive the stylus? We doubt it.