Samsung’s S Pen is one of the best stylus options around, especially when it’s paired with the latest Galaxy Note software. But if Apple makes good on a recent patent, the Cupertino company could put its South Korean rival to shame.

Apple’s patent for a “Communicating stylus” was submitted back in Jan. 2010 and finally published on Tuesday. It describes a stylus that syncs with other Apple devices but can write on literally anything. Whatever you draw with your digital pen, from words on paper to 3D shapes in the air, would then show up on your device thanks to built-in accelerometers and other sensors.

The company actually offers several different possibilities for how its stylus would work. One variant stores your writing so you can upload it to a device later on, while another version displays the information simultaneously on a connected screen. Apple also suggests that the stylus might include “ink, graphite, or another similar substance” so your writing actually leaves marks on the paper as well.

Of course, there’s no guarantee Apple will ever release an official stylus, let alone this one. Clearly the company has considered the idea in the past, but for now it seems content to let other firms offer writing accessories for its devices.