Rumors of an Apple stylus have been floating around for as long as I can remember. Now that the company seems to be making progress on the rumored iPad Pro, which may support such a stylus, it seems like we’re getting closer than ever before to the introduction of an “iPen” device. A new patent discovered by PatentlyApple supports the theory that such a product is on the horizon.

The patent application, published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, describes an advanced system for naturally recognizing handwriting, which would be a key function of any stylus when used on a tablet. A user might write on the screen and then hardware in the tablet, working with software, will turn that into text.

It’s similar to what we’ve already seen from dozens of firms already; Samsung already offers the feature on its Note tablets and smartphones. In other examples, however, we can see where handwriting recognition can also be used with a finger on the display instead of a stylus.

The patent doesn’t guarantee we’ll ever see something like this from Apple, and Steve Jobs famously hated the idea of a stylus; but it seems plausible we’ll see one sooner than later.