As it stands, Microsoft’s Surface Pen stylus will last about a year off of its non-rechargeable battery, according to the company. While that’s pretty good, it still means you’ll have to buy a new battery at some point. It isn’t a big deal, but it’s an annoyance nonetheless.
Microsoft may be hard at work to address that annoyance, however: According to Patently Mobile, Microsoft filed a patent for a rechargeable stylus and charging cradle.
The stylus as shown in patent drawings appears to have what you’d expect from a Surface Pen: It has a drawing tip on one end, an eraser on the other, and a power button on the side. Inside, a rechargeable battery would power the pen. An indicator light that would presumably give you an idea of your battery’s charge lives on the side.
Metal contacts on the stylus would facilitate charging, and the pen would magnetically attach to a charging cradle, Patently Mobile’s says.
According to Patently Mobile, “Microsoft filed their patent application back in June 2014,” though the US Patent and Trademark Office only recently published the application.
Why this matters: A patent application doesn’t necessarily mean a new product is in the works, but it’s still encouraging to see Microsoft hop on the rechargeable stylus train. A rechargeable Surface Pen would mean you wouldn’t have to pay for a new battery every year, which should result in fewer spent batteries sitting in a landfill somewhere. A rechargeable battery may not necessarily last a year between charges, though—Apple’s Pencil stylus for the iPad Pro will get you about 12 hours of use before you need to power it up again—but it’s better than being stuck with a dead Surface Pen because your alkaline battery ran dry.